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Agency Based Discussion => iStockPhoto.com => Topic started by: BaldricksTrousers on August 10, 2010, 09:52

Title: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 10, 2010, 09:52
I've seen an extraordinary drop in sales since the new site went live. Is it just me, is it non-exclusives generally or is it everyone? Have they pushed through some search reshuffle that is affecting me?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Stu49 on August 10, 2010, 10:02
No Sales at all, so far this month !!  :(  very worrying  ???
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 10, 2010, 10:24
Not noticed a change.  My sales were down there in July and August is slow but that has happened before in the summer months.  Far too early to guess if they new site has made a difference, wait until things pick up again in September.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Artemis on August 10, 2010, 10:56
no change noticed here either, my stats are to cry for since may, actually picking up a tiiiny bit since this week. (small port, not necesarily representative, still fun to chime in ;))
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 10, 2010, 11:16
Maybe nothing, then. But Shutterstock almost always comes in second behind iStock in my results, so for iStock to be trailing SS by almost 20% a third of a way through the month makes my antennae twitch a bit.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 10, 2010, 12:20
My sales at IS are the same level of lousy that they have been for the last couple of months.  No change here, unfortunately...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: cybernesco on August 10, 2010, 12:27
No noticeable change for me. Denis
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: rubyroo on August 10, 2010, 12:42
Just checked and I seem to have had a mini slump in May, but June and July are pretty much as normal.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 10, 2010, 12:46
July was ghastly and August is starting out the same.  No noticeable change since F5.  Read the July Stats thread on the IS forums for "entertainment."
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 10, 2010, 12:56
I am exclusive to IS. My sales were pretty decent in the first week of August, then as soon as F5 was introduced, my sales went from down to NIL. I haven't had any sales on Monday and today (Tuesday). It feels odd.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 10, 2010, 13:11
There is 25% Off promo to celebrate the F5.
I guess total sales must be really low.  Otherwise, I don't think such a big discount would be offered.  :-\   
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: fotografer on August 10, 2010, 13:16
Huge slump for me over last few days.  :(
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 10, 2010, 13:38
Had one or two sales, about average, but my usual rate is so low it's hard to say if there is a trend.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Dreamframer on August 10, 2010, 13:49
I had only few audios in last few days, and not a single photo sold
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: borg on August 10, 2010, 14:06
No Sales at all, so far this month !!  :(  very worrying  ???

Same here
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 10, 2010, 14:34
Well, having just read that July thread I suppose I should be ecstatic that my earnings have been almost perfectly flat for the last three months, just 15% below the March high.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: SNP on August 10, 2010, 15:43
if you were experiencing a bonified sales slump, using three days worth of 'data' really isn't very empirical or proof of anything. come on, let's not jump to silly conclusions. other than some irritating stylistic flaws, it is a well-designed and executed website and iStock have led the way many times before. the new site will take weeks to have any affect, let's give it at least that chance to prove itself.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 10, 2010, 16:10
if you were experiencing a bonified sales slump, using three days worth of 'data' really isn't very empirical or proof of anything. come on, let's not jump to silly conclusions. other than some irritating stylistic flaws, it is a well-designed and executed website and iStock have led the way many times before. the new site will take weeks to have any affect, let's give it at least that chance to prove itself.

I know three days of my data are not statistically significant, that's why I inquired whether others had observed the same before deciding whether to draw any conclusions. An immediate impact is possible if they have done something to the search.

It's not about giving iStock a chance or not, I have no influence over it. I just have to live with whatever the results are of anything it does. I doubt if a cosmetic makeover is going to make much difference to overall sales, the key factors are probably the pricing and customer budget restraints (which also means "the pricing").

The stats posted in that July thread suggest that quite a few customers may have been using up their outstanding credits and then looking for a cheaper place to go for images. It was always going to take months for the impact of the big price hike on much of the collection to work through the system. On the other hand, I suppose any significant buyers who rejected the rise will have left by now, so there should be a new balance in place that the site can build on.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 10, 2010, 17:35
There is 25% Off promo to celebrate the F5.
I guess total sales must be really low.  Otherwise, I don't think such a big discount would be offered.  :-\   

Wow!  Yeah, I don't ever remember a discount that steep.  So then maybe the sales slump we are experiencing really IS a sale slump, and not just the result of dilution...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Perry on August 10, 2010, 17:47
August is starting off a bit better than the horrible june and july.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: ComfortEagle2095 on August 10, 2010, 23:56
Worst start for a month in three years.  Down to about 1/3 what I've been getting by this time in a month (which was already down dramatically from the beginning of the year).  The last four days, nothing.  It's been years since I've had more than two days without sales.

So far this month both DT and FT have each outperformed IS.  Generally the two of them together are about half what I make at IS.  SS remains about the same as it's been all year.

Go figure...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 00:11
There is 25% Off promo to celebrate the F5.
I guess total sales must be really low.  Otherwise, I don't think such a big discount would be offered.  :-\   

Wow!  Yeah, I don't ever remember a discount that steep.  So then maybe the sales slump we are experiencing really IS a sale slump, and not just the result of dilution...

You're big enough to be almost statistically siginificant on your own, Lisa! So if you're also feeling it .... Congrats on the black diamond thingy btw.  (Isn't a black diamond a lump of coal?)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 02:07
I believe there is a general drop in sales just about everywhere but for some reason it seams to have affected IS more then the others. Have not noticed any change in their best match.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eco on August 11, 2010, 03:10
Yes, for the first time IS is down from my best earner to number 4 (behind SS, FT and DT). I have never experienced such a sudden and drastic drop in sales at any of my other stock sites. I am not really surprised. What else did they (or we for that matter) expect after they started to actively invite buyers over to ThinkStock.  If I was exclusive there I would now seriously consider jumping ship. Hope I am wrong, but I have a stinking feeling it will only get worse over at IS.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: borg on August 11, 2010, 03:14
Is there a similar topic like this , on their forum?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Caz on August 11, 2010, 03:25
Is there a similar topic like this , on their forum?


Yes, once a month there's a thread to discuss the previous month's sales trends.  Here's the current one http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=238492&page=1 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=238492&page=1)  It's restricted to one thread every month because otherwise ten people would start ten new threads every day wondering whether their lack of sales for the last ten minutes is indicative of the end of the microstock world.  ;)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: rene on August 11, 2010, 06:25
July was very bad. -35% in earnings compared to June.
Hopefully August rocks so far.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Lizard on August 11, 2010, 06:30
Huge drop for me after the change
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 11, 2010, 07:25
No sales at all since August 7 (included) - while in July I averaged 1.9 sales per weekday. Not much but I don't remember a 4-day period on IS without any sales at all.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: epantha on August 11, 2010, 08:01
I have a noticed an alarming drop in sales since they introduced the new look. :-\
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 08:22
The new look is fine!  however all this Vetta, E+ and collection business with price increases, no it doesnt help at all.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Talanis on August 11, 2010, 08:40
No drop in sales for me either. It looks about the same as july so far
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 11, 2010, 08:46
The new look is fine!  however all this Vetta, E+ and collection business with price increases, no it doesnt help at all.

I think Vetta was an excellent and necessary move. I think E+ wasn't a good move.

Vetta is somewhat predictable. Images are unqiue, highly styled, or have higher production costs. Higher cost makes more sense. And it's controlled by editors to maintain some consistency.

E+ doesn't make sense to me. Giving contributors control on pricing I think is a bad idea. I think it confuses/frustrates buyers and creates inconsistent pricing. Some contributors are using it as Vetta Jr. but some are putting anything and everything in it. If I were a buyer I'd be looking for a more simple and consistent price structure that I could manage my project budget against.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: fullvalue on August 11, 2010, 09:15
My sales at IS are the same level of lousy that they have been for the last couple of months.  No change here, unfortunately...

Ditto.  I was thinking all the sales had gone over to Non-Exclusive Photogs because of the price increase.  Guess that isn't so.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 09:43
Things will need to rebound in September and October, or I think a lot of exclusives will have second thoughts.  There is a 30 day waiting period for anyone wishing to drop their exclusive status.  I wonder if we'll start to see a drop in the number of exclusives toward the end of August, as a lag from the July debacle?  Is there anywhere on the iStock site which lists the total number of exclusive contributors?  That would be an interesting number to track if it is available.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 11, 2010, 10:14
Things will need to rebound in September and October, or I think a lot of exclusives will have second thoughts.  There is a 30 day waiting period for anyone wishing to drop their exclusive status.  I wonder if we'll start to see a drop in the number of exclusives toward the end of August, as a lag from the July debacle?  Is there anywhere on the iStock site which lists the total number of exclusive contributors?  That would be an interesting number to track if it is available.

No, you can drop exclusivity immediately.  There is a 30 day waiting period to re-exclusive.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 10:16
I think they changed the requirements Sean.  From the Exclusive FAQ:

How long am I committed?
If you get cold feet, you can cancel your Exclusive contract with 30 days notice, after providing us with a reason ("it's not you, it's me"). And we'll always take you back, with a 90 day reinstatement waiting period.


http://www.istockphoto.com/sell-stock-photos-exclusivity.php (http://www.istockphoto.com/sell-stock-photos-exclusivity.php)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 11, 2010, 10:20
^^^ As far as I recall the terms have always been like that.

I'd be surprised if exclusives were unhappy. Surely, with the massive price increases, you must be earning significantly more than this time last year even if you have fewer sales?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 10:25
Gostwyck -

In my case this is most certainly true.  And for the record, I am currently happy with Exclusivity, but cautious over the site traffic trends.  

But from reading the July Sales thread, there were plenty of exclusives who have seen a drop in earnings from last year, and a more significant drop in DLs.  Many of those exclusives have considerably larger portfolios and are probably a better statistical gage.

Another concern I have read repeatedly on the IS and Indie forums is that new images are simply not selling.  They seem to get a rush of Views at the onset, and then they fade into obscurity.  So it is difficult for many of us to grow our earnings when uploading seems futile.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 10:37
I also thought new files didn't sell on IS, but then I did a count and I discovered that files uploaded this year account for 10% of my sales and I have increased my portfolio size by 10% over the same period. Clearly, in my case at least, new files sell at the same rate as old ones (maybe slightly faster) but the overall rate at which files are selling is so slow that my recent upload pages are full of zeroes, making it look as if new files do less well than old ones.

Old files have better-looking stats because files were selling three or four times as fast a few years ago (twice as many downloads with half the portfolio size), so the further back you go, the more impressive the sales look, aided both by time and by faster download rates in the past.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 11:17
I'm not a fan of the new web site but I do not believe that it has anything to do with the diminishing sales.

IStock is the only company I know of that is actively trying to convince its customers to go away and start buying from some other place. In this case - ThinkStock, the most beloved sister company.
Cold calling your own customers and asking them to stop buying from you and go do business somewhere else is a policy I've never heard of before. It's gotta have some consequences.
But I trust that the very intelligent people at Getty I keep on hearing about, know what they're doing and we'll all be happy in the end.

There are probably many factors responsible for such declining sales at IStock. ThinkStock being only one of them.
But I do not think the new web site is to blame.

Right now they're offering a 25 % reduction in prices. That should be good news. 
But are they also reducing contributor commissions by the same amount?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 11:26

But from reading the July Sales thread, there were plenty of exclusives who have seen a drop in earnings from last year, and a more significant drop in DLs.  

This is what would concern me most if I was exclusive.  The decline in downloads at IS, and the fact that the rate of decline seems to be more extreme than at other sites.  This indicates a problem specific to IS rather than just an industry and economic trend.  

@Fullvalue - rest assured, the downloads have not just shifted to non-exclusives.  Seems like everyone is feeling the pinch.

I am beginning to wonder if IS will be doing away with the end-of-month stats threads soon if the news doesn't start improving...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 11:28
Right now they're offering a 25 % reduction in prices. That should be good news. 
But are they also reducing contributor commissions by the same amount?

VERY good question!  For several years now contributor commissions have been tied to credit prices, so it would not surprise me to see our commissions reduced on the sale priced credits.  Does anyone know if this has been answered somewhere? 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 11:29
Why cant it just be the most common and obvious??  we have had a nice ride for many years and now the concept is getting worn and torn and with all the agencies, too many contributors, too many files, too much of everything and the first ones that will feel the pain are ofcourse the more expensive agencies.
This is what happend to the Trad-agencies and this is whats beginning to happen now.

best.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: nruboc on August 11, 2010, 11:37
Right now they're offering a 25 % reduction in prices. That should be good news. 
But are they also reducing contributor commissions by the same amount?

VERY good question!  For several years now contributor commissions have been tied to credit prices, so it would not surprise me to see our commissions reduced on the sale priced credits.  Does anyone know if this has been answered somewhere? 

Yes, in the IStock forums, it was definitely confirmed by an iStock admin that this is the case
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 12:01

Yes, in the IStock forums, it was definitely confirmed by an iStock admin that this is the case

Great.  Just effing wonderful.   >:(

Thanks for confirming this nruboc.  I can't find this discussed anywhere on the site.  Can you post a link? 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 12:08

Yes, in the IStock forums, it was definitely confirmed by an iStock admin that this is the case

Great.  Just effing wonderful.   >:(

Thanks for confirming this nruboc.

Hi Lisa!

yep!  great isnt it?  well if this isnt a confirmation that things are going sour, I dont know what is.

best.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 12:10
Where is the istock thread discussing this?  Anyone have a link?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 12:11
Why cant it just be the most common and obvious??  

Surely the most common and obvious explanation is that IStock screwed up its pricing policy dramatically at the start of the year. Six months on and the credits that people found were suddenly devalued are all used up and buyers are looking for cheaper alternatives. Istock has helpfully explained to them, immediately after the shock price rise, that TS is a far more economical place to be and, judging from the way Shutterstock is going, others have found their own alternatives.

Unfortunately, the "special offer" apparently intended to reduce the impact of the pricing mistake is going to mean the second pay cut this year for non-exclusives.

But I still don't understand why a number of people have noticed a sharp sales drop since F5 - if there is no search change, then is there something that buyers are finding confusing or offputting about the new site?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 11, 2010, 12:17
Great.  Just effing wonderful.   >:(

Yep, if they've got any sense buyers will be loading up on those 25% discounted credits and them spending them (probably at just the same rate as they would have anyway) over the next year. I suppose it might commit their loyalty to Istock for a few more months but no real reason to believe it will increase the numbers of images they buy.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 12:24
Great.  Just effing wonderful.   >:(

Yep, if they've got any sense buyers will be loading up on those 25% discounted credits and them spending them (probably at just the same rate as they would have anyway) over the next year. I suppose it might commit their loyalty to Istock for a few more months but no real reason to believe it will increase the numbers of images they buy.

Good for short-term corporate cash flow while they try to think of something else to boost the earnings.

PS: I see that the "F5 live" thread, after the statutory initial corporate WooYay, is now awash with complaints about site usability and the post F5 sales slump.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 12:24
Finally found this mentioned buried in the 36 page F5 thread here:

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=240711&page=35 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=240711&page=35)

Only a few people (Sean, Slobo, Abzee) have even bothered to comment about it.  Pretty sad.  

I added a comment, but since it will probably be deleted I will cross-post here:

I am really surprised a bigger deal isn't being made about this. Only place to find this information is buried in a 36 page forum thread?

So now, in addition to dwindling sales, we have to eat a 25% drop in royalties? It wasn't the contributors decision to redo the site, it wasn't our decision to lobby customers to switch to Thinkstock, it wasn't contributors decision to raise prices on large sections of the collection.

Since we didn't make any of the decisions that are chasing buyers away, why do we have to eat the cost of trying to woo them back?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 12:29
I only see Sean's comment, not an official statement.

I'm pretty sure he is right, though.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: SNP on August 11, 2010, 12:32
Great.  Just effing wonderful.   >:(

Yep, if they've got any sense buyers will be loading up on those 25% discounted credits and them spending them (probably at just the same rate as they would have anyway) over the next year. I suppose it might commit their loyalty to Istock for a few more months but no real reason to believe it will increase the numbers of images they buy.


I believe the credits have to be used by a certain date? my sales are dipping, but I may be falsely attributing it to the new site because of sensitivity to it. summer sales are up and down like a whore's drawers anyways, so who knows.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 11, 2010, 12:32
..But I still don't understand why a number of people have noticed a sharp sales drop since F5 - if there is no search change, then is there something that buyers are finding confusing or offputting about the new site?
I haven't seen any drop in the few days since the new site was implemented.  I think people are more inclined to post when their sales fall than when they are stable or going up.  A few slow days this time of the year isn't unusual.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 12:34
25% off 23c for an XS is 18c.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 11, 2010, 12:35
Finally found this mentioned buried in the 36 page F5 thread here:

[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=240711&page=35[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=240711&page=35[/url])

Only a few people (Sean, Slobo, Abzee) have even bothered to comment about it.  Pretty sad.  

I added a comment, but since it will probably be deleted I will cross-post here:

I am really surprised a bigger deal isn't being made about this. Only place to find this information is buried in a 36 page forum thread?

So now, in addition to dwindling sales, we have to eat a 25% drop in royalties? It wasn't the contributors decision to redo the site, it wasn't our decision to lobby customers to switch to Thinkstock, it wasn't contributors decision to raise prices on large sections of the collection.

Since we didn't make any of the decisions that are chasing buyers away, why do we have to eat the cost of trying to woo them back?


This is thread about the 25% discount: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=242092&page=1 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=242092&page=1)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 12:37
Thanks for that link.  I couldn't find it anywhere, and the forum search is as useless as ever. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Danicek on August 11, 2010, 12:52
25% off 23c for an XS is 18c.

And 23c is not the lowest you can get now. I believe I've seen 0.16c. So 25% off that is 0.13c :]
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 12:57
RM and RF, is for the first time in many years on the increase!  I and many of my collegues are noticing a big increase especially in RF, there has got to be a reason for this? since both RM and RF is a hell of a lot more expensive then Micro,  yet thyere on the rise. One gets the feeling that Micro is loosing its credibillity?

However, Micro is symbolic with cheap shots and thats it and ofcourse the slightest price increase will probably make the average Micro buyer think of suecide and it could very well be that all these price increases, E+ and, etc, etc, finally put the last nail in the coffin.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 12:58
I can't believe I'm reading this.

No other site, as far as I know, has ever done such a thing.
No matter how big, well known the site, or up-coming and small.

It is incredible that mighty Getty can't afford a few days promotion without asking the contributors to pay for it.
I'm going to stop here, before I get into some serious trouble.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 13:02
They've been doing it for three years. It isn't new. That's why there are so many different commision levels paid depending on what discounts they give to bulk buyers. Check the cash you get for any given size of sale and you will see the prices are all over the place.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: SNP on August 11, 2010, 13:04
..But I still don't understand why a number of people have noticed a sharp sales drop since F5 - if there is no search change, then is there something that buyers are finding confusing or offputting about the new site?
I haven't seen any drop in the few days since the new site was implemented.  I think people are more inclined to post when their sales fall than when they are stable or going up.  A few slow days this time of the year isn't unusual.


very true, I catch myself attributing a normal dip to the new site....and it probably isn't at all related. Question for Lagereek, why are you referring to RF and micro as mutually exclusive? I'm trying to understand your post.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 13:21
All right Baldrick.
So this is a Getty thing?
Offering buyers' promotions paid for by contributors?
And it has been happening for years?

Well, I had 4 sales in the past 3 months at IStock.
It's really not my place to be worrying about it.
I'll leave that to the golds, diamonds and black diamonds exclusives who, I'm sure, have a lot more to say.
Thanks for the info though, good to know :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 13:27
I can't believe I'm reading this.

No other site, as far as I know, has ever done such a thing.
No matter how big, well known the site, or up-coming and small.

Seriously?  DT lowered commission percentages in the last year. FT undercut credit sales by offering very, very cheap subs, while at the same time raising the bar significantly for future "cannister" levels. I'm sure there are plenty of more examples people can come up with.  In the larger scheme of things, having a short term 25% sale isn't a huge deal.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 13:38
DJPadanova,

Yeah, seriously.

No other site I know of has ever offered a buyer promotion paid for by contributors.
End of story.

Don't confuse comissions with short term buyer promotions.
And talking about commissions, they're higher on the other sites.
And in my case, so are my sales.

But if you're happy paying for it, great!
Not my problem.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 13:46
DJPadanova,

Yeah, seriously.

No other site I know of has ever offered a buyer promotion paid for by contributors.
End of story.

Don't confuse comissions with short term buyer promotions.
And talking about commissions, they're higher on the other sites.
And in my case, so are my sales.

But if you're happy paying for it, great!
Not my problem.

Your sales?  Didn't you just mention you've had 4 sales in 3 months in iStockphoto?  I don't mean to be rude, but it looks to me like you are brand new to this and really not in position to make macro commentaries on the industry.  Trust us.  Those who have been around for several years contributing to the various sites have seen plenty.  This is the tip of the iceberg.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 11, 2010, 13:49
Question for Lagereek, why are you referring to RF and micro as mutually exclusive? I'm trying to understand your post.
I have the same question.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 13:57
I would assume he meant macro stock RF?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 14:02
Question for Lagereek, why are you referring to RF and micro as mutually exclusive? I'm trying to understand your post.
I have the same question.

He's clearly thinking of the RF and RM sales on "traditional" sites such as Corbis and Gettyimages where prices are far higher. All sorts of different licenses are offered at the high price sites, including RF. Trying to link rising sales on such sites with falling sales on micros is a bit silly IMHO. Buyers are hardly likely to say "well I'm tired of paying $10 for these micro pictures so I'll go and pay $300 for one from Getty instead". If sales are going up at those agencies it probably reflects rising business confidence among big companies which are willing to pay extra for something that isn't likely to be used elsewhere.

I don't know about Getty or Corbis, but the Alamy discussion forum is full of complaints about falling prices and low sales, and that would probably be the first stop for cash-conscious buyers looking to switch out of the micros.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 14:09
I think DPadanova, that you're going a bit off topic now.
My sales ...
Right.

I have poor sales. You don't. You're successful and obviously know a lot more about this business than I do.
Can you tell me of any other site that offers a buyer promotion and asks contributors to pay for it?
I would love to know.
Or would you rather talk about my sales and my portfolio instead?
Your choice...
But maybe not the right thread.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Artemis on August 11, 2010, 14:37
DJPadanova,

Yeah, seriously.

No other site I know of has ever offered a buyer promotion paid for by contributors.
End of story.

Don't confuse comissions with short term buyer promotions.
And talking about commissions, they're higher on the other sites.
And in my case, so are my sales.

But if you're happy paying for it, great!
Not my problem.

Your sales?  Didn't you just mention you've had 4 sales in 3 months in iStockphoto?  I don't mean to be rude, but it looks to me like you are brand new to this and really not in position to make macro commentaries on the industry.  Trust us.  Those who have been around for several years contributing to the various sites have seen plenty.  This is the tip of the iceberg.
They take 80% of our (non.excl) commission. Yet they still have the guts to make us pay for a 25% off promotion... you can be bothered by it or not, but i dont think you need daily sales to have an opinion on these dry facts. I always experienced Eireann as someone with a pretty lucid view on things; + if only the big fish can talk this place would become pretty quiet.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 14:45
Question for Lagereek, why are you referring to RF and micro as mutually exclusive? I'm trying to understand your post.
I have the same question.

An RF shot can easily sell for anything between 10 up to hundereds of bucks, a Micro shot can sell for what?  25 bucks?  proper RF is pretty much the thing within the Trad-agencies, Getty, Alamy, Corbis, etc,  but no, you dont have to be exclusive to supply to RM.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 14:51
As an exclusive, I'm certainly not happy about it.  But this isn't the first time a lower priced package has been introduced at a microstock site, with everyone's commission percentages staying the same.  At least in this case it is a temporary sale.

My point is relevant imo.  You admit you have only been doing this for a year, and you haven't gotten your sales up to speed yet.  Fine, you're learning just like me.  But when you make statements like "I've never seen anything like this before in the history of microstock" when you are brand new to the industry, it is with a lack of perspective.  

If you want to see the fur flying, go back about 14-18 months in the FT forum and read what happened there.  There were photographers completely kicked out of FT for voicing their opinions on this message board and theirs.  DT forced subs on the contributor base while still forcing them to stay locked in a 6 month agreement, even though the agreement had clearly changed.  It's all happened before, and will again.  A 25% short term sale sucks but it doesn't make me want to revolt.


I think DPadanova, that you're going a bit off topic now.
My sales ...
Right.

I have poor sales. You don't. You're successful and obviously know a lot more about this business than I do.
Can you tell me of any other site that offers a buyer promotion and asks contributors to pay for it?
I would love to know.
Or would you rather talk about my sales and my portfolio instead?
Your choice...
But maybe not the right thread.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 11, 2010, 14:51
An RF shot sold through a traditional agency can easily sell for anything between 10 up to hundereds of bucks, a Micro RFshot can sell for what?  25 bucks?  proper RF is pretty much the thing within the Trad-agencies, Getty, Alamy, Corbis, etc,  but no, you dont have to be exclusive to supply to RM.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 14:55
An RF shot sold through a traditional agency can easily sell for anything between 10 up to hundereds of bucks, a Micro RFshot can sell for what?  25 bucks?  proper RF is pretty much the thing within the Trad-agencies, Getty, Alamy, Corbis, etc,  but no, you dont have to be exclusive to supply to RM.

Sorry, Sean, what's your point?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 11, 2010, 14:57
Just clarifying that both "traditional" agencies and micro sell what is generally considered "RF".
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 15:08
Yes, that's right. My best royalty free sale on Alamy was just over $300. Single usage RM or TL sales are usually for less but you hope for repeat orders. There's nothing magical about the kind of license, in fact the micros should really be selling RM for single use, it would make much more sense at those prices but, of course, would be quite impossible to police.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 11, 2010, 15:13
I haven't noticed any sales increase with alamy, I am doing much worse there than last year but I have a small mainly RM portfolio, so perhaps I just got lucky last year.  Haven't sales fallen with alamy as well?  I think this might just be an industry wide slow down that could be temporary or might be more serious.  I wont panic after a few slow months, the end of the year will be the time to do that :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 15:16
I think DPadanova, that you're going a bit off topic now.
My sales ...
Right.


Yes, it is OT, but I am going along on this side track for a minute.  

Dan, don't assume from Eirann's sales that she is new to the world of microstock.  She has been involved as a buyer for years.  One of the few active buyers that regularly posts on this forum.  

I agree that larger and older portfolios are a much better indicator of sales trends than newer, smaller ones, but in a thread talking about promotional pricing and commissions I believe input from someone who is both a frequent buyer and a seller is extremely valuable.  
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 11, 2010, 15:34
Sharpshot, Alamy has been in decline for years but that's to do with competition from the micros followed by a hit from the economy (newspapers, for example, decided to negotiate cut-price packages). Even when sales were growing, the growth in the collection outstripped them and when earnings took a dip (as I believe they have, but the statistics seem to have been taken off the site) the collection continued to grow.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: cathyslife on August 11, 2010, 15:40
Boy, the news from istock just keeps getting better and better. NOT!  :-\
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 15:45
Lisa,

Are we suggesting that 123RF, BigStock, iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, etc has never offered a 10%, 20%, or 30% sale during the summer, Christmas, or any time of the year to entice new buyers to check out the business?  With many agencies, we are paid a fixed commission percentage based on the sales price, whatever that price is.  I'm just saying I don't think this is the first time a sale has occurred with no change in commission percentage.  It sucks, but I highly doubt this is an industry first.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 17:22

Are we suggesting that 123RF, BigStock, iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, etc has never offered a 10%, 20%, or 30% sale during the summer, Christmas, or any time of the year to entice new buyers to check out the business?  

Well, that is not an issue I was addressing in my post.  I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

My response was directed entirely at the idea that because Eireann has only been selling stock for a year and only has a small portfolio, she isn't knowledgeable about the industry.  If you reread my post you will see that the point I was making is that she is a long time buyer and therefore perfectly qualified to make the observations she did.  

It's one thing to disagree with the content of someone's post, but quite another to question whether they have the right to an opinion, if you see what I mean.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: cathyslife on August 11, 2010, 17:30

Are we suggesting that 123RF, BigStock, iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, etc has never offered a 10%, 20%, or 30% sale during the summer, Christmas, or any time of the year to entice new buyers to check out the business?  

Well, that is not what I was taking issue with.  I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

My response was directed entirely at the idea that because Eireann has only been selling stock for a year and only has a small portfolio, she isn't knowledgeable about the industry.  If you reread my post you will see that the point I was making is that she is a long time buyer and therefore perfectly qualified to make the observations she did.  

It's one thing to disagree with the content of someone's post, but quite another to question whether they have the right to an opinion, if you see what I mean.

I am kind of glad you stated this Lisa, because a comment was directed to me in another thread (if I need to, I will go find it) implying the same thing. When I stated I was a a buyer (a small buyer, but a buyer none-the-less) as well as a contributor, the comment was made to the effect "well yeah, but you are also a contributor. it would be nice to hear from someone who is a buyer only." As if my opinion doesn't matter just because I upload photos too? I am not getting what the difference is, and I was a little perturbed to be dismissed like that.

edited: and while we are off-topic, and related to the above, I have seen posts whereby people here don't think buyers hang out...maybe they don't, but maybe they do. Do you really want to offend anyone who is a buyer or may be a future buyer?

Ok, back to dissing istock!  ;)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 17:35

When I stated I was a a buyer (a small buyer, but a buyer none-the-less) as well as a contributor, the comment was made to the effect "well yeah, but you are also a contributor. it would be nice to hear from someone who is a buyer only." As if my opinion doesn't matter just because I upload photos too? I am not getting what the difference is, and I was a little perturbed to be dismissed like that.

Lovely.  

There are so few buyers willing to post on these contributor dominated forums.  I hear people talking all the time about how nice it would be to hear from more buyers.  Then we diss them when they actually post?  I don't get it  ???

ETA:  Cathy, you must have been revising as I was posting...

Do you really want to offend anyone who is a buyer or may be a future buyer?


I totally agree.  Slamming buyers when you are selling stock seems a bit counterproductive... ;)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 11, 2010, 17:39

When I stated I was a a buyer (a small buyer, but a buyer none-the-less) as well as a contributor, the comment was made to the effect "well yeah, but you are also a contributor. it would be nice to hear from someone who is a buyer only." As if my opinion doesn't matter just because I upload photos too? I am not getting what the difference is, and I was a little perturbed to be dismissed like that.

Lovely. 

There are so few buyers willing to post on these contributor dominated forums.  I hear people talking all the time about how nice it would be to hear from more buyers.  Then we diss them when they actually post?  I don't get it  ???

Neither do I....buyer's have just as much in site into all this as we do.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: hqimages on August 11, 2010, 17:53

When I stated I was a a buyer (a small buyer, but a buyer none-the-less) as well as a contributor, the comment was made to the effect "well yeah, but you are also a contributor. it would be nice to hear from someone who is a buyer only." As if my opinion doesn't matter just because I upload photos too? I am not getting what the difference is, and I was a little perturbed to be dismissed like that.

Lovely.  

There are so few buyers willing to post on these contributor dominated forums.  I hear people talking all the time about how nice it would be to hear from more buyers.  Then we diss them when they actually post?  I don't get it  ???

ETA:  Cathy, you must have been revising as I was posting...

Do you really want to offend anyone who is a buyer or may be a future buyer?


I totally agree.  Slamming buyers when you are selling stock seems a bit counterproductive... ;)

I posted as a buyer a few times giving some suggestions based on images I'm always looking for.. and I was asked by one member 'why don't I go and take the image myself' if I felt there was a gap in the stock library :D Now THAT'S counter-intuitive.. now I just lurk..

I will say this though, Istock is overpriced at the moment compared to other libraries, and we have moved elsewhere to source images at 'old' istock prices.. I'm pay as you go rather than a subs buyer.. dunno if that helps but, that's why I don't buy so many credits anymore on is, they just don't stretch far enough, especially given the economy, is prices have gone up regardless of the recession, meanwhile clients have no stock budget whatsoever, so it has to be price first for now.. a travel client of mine is even just sourcing images from their suppliers, which they have the correct licence for to use commercially etc, but they are provided for free and given the economy, this is what the client is going to use, even if the quality is awful in a lot of the images, they don't seem to care when it's bad quality vs having to pay..
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 17:57
I apologize.  Obviously I didn't know she was a buyer, but her comments have been regarding her experiences as a seller of stock - not as a buyer.  And I never said she didn't have a right to her opinion.  What I said was simply that someone with 1 year of experience in microstock suggesting this iStock situation has never happened before in the history of microstock, hasn't been around long enough to know whether it is true or not.

Now obviously she has been around a lot longer than 1 year as a buyer.  But the comment is still false.  This is not the first sale in microstock history.

And btw, why complain about a 25% temporary reduction in iStockphoto prices in one breath, and then happily contribute to a subs site in the next breath?  Even with the price reduction, your work is being valued much higher at iS than it is at a subscription site.  And maybe if said subscription sites weren't undercutting the industry and every photographer on this board, maybe iStock wouldn't be losing its buyers.  Aren't we beating up on the wrong company?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 11, 2010, 18:06
Some buyers prefer subscriptions, I am sure shutterstock would of continued raising prices if it wasn't for other sites like thinkstock keeping them down.  Now who owns thinkstock :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: WarrenPrice on August 11, 2010, 18:08
I apologize.  Obviously I didn't know she was a buyer, but her comments have been regarding her experiences as a seller of stock - not as a buyer.  And I never said she didn't have a right to her opinion.  What I said was simply that someone with 1 year of experience in microstock suggesting this iStock situation has never happened before in the history of microstock, hasn't been around long enough to know whether it is true or not.

Now obviously she has been around a lot longer than 1 year as a buyer.  But the comment is still false.  This is not the first sale in microstock history.

And btw, why complain about a 25% temporary reduction in iStockphoto prices in one breath, and then happily contribute to a subs site in the next breath?  Even with the price reduction, your work is being valued much higher at iS than it is at a subscription site.  And maybe if said subscription sites weren't undercutting the industry and every photographer on this board, maybe iStock wouldn't be losing its buyers.  Aren't we beating up on the wrong company?

I agree with djpadovona that such contributor abuses have happened and fairly recently ... the DT changed price structure, for instance, or the FT change in level, or containers or whatever you call them.

BUT ... those change also brought loud protest, just as the iStock change is being questioned ... after it was revealed that contributors were secretly being screwed.

It is so easy to stir misunderstanding in our two dimensional communication.  Too many of the senses are not visibly expressed.   :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 11, 2010, 18:40

I posted as a buyer a few times giving some suggestions based on images I'm always looking for.. and I was asked by one member 'why don't I go and take the image myself' if I felt there was a gap in the stock library :D Now THAT'S counter-intuitive.. now I just lurk..

I will say this though, Istock is overpriced at the moment compared to other libraries, and we have moved elsewhere to source images at 'old' istock prices.. I'm pay as you go rather than a subs buyer.. dunno if that helps but, that's why I don't buy so many credits anymore on is, they just don't stretch far enough, especially given the economy, is prices have gone up regardless of the recession, meanwhile clients have no stock budget whatsoever, so it has to be price first for now.. a travel client of mine is even just sourcing images from their suppliers, which they have the correct licence for to use commercially etc, but they are provided for free and given the economy, this is what the client is going to use, even if the quality is awful in a lot of the images, they don't seem to care when it's bad quality vs having to pay..

Thanks for posting that. It's pretty much what I suspected. I don't think there is an easy answer to any of it and it just seems things keep getting worse and worse.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: RacePhoto on August 11, 2010, 19:47
Some buyers prefer subscriptions, I am sure shutterstock would of continued raising prices if it wasn't for other sites like thinkstock keeping them down.  Now who owns thinkstock :)

Every time you bring up the evil empire and Thinkstock, matching established agency prices, I'll be forced to point out that Deposit Photos is undercutting those price levels, but no one seems to be targeting them as the problem.  ??? Oh that's right, DP pays 25c an upload for people to prostitute themselves, and gives away free credits to "buyers" for artificial sales numbers.  >:(

A number of people have pointed out that ThinkStock sales stink and are less than StockXpert sales, but then someone will counter that ThinkStock is hurting IS sales. How can they be selling less and hurting IS downloads at the same time. Some sort of math contradiction with that. It's impossible!  ;D

It's nice of ThinkStock to provide a convenient scapegoat for all the ills of the industry including sales slumps everywhere, but I really think people need to look further than blaming Getty and the recycling industry that ThinkStock represents, a collection of old photos from old agencies, dumped on a sub site. ThinkStock does not represent a vital competitive site, it's more like an old cobweb covered collection getting dusted off in hope of getting anything out of it.

Anyone criticizing Thinkstock without looking at what's offered there, should really take a few minutes just to see what's for sale, before they keep claiming it's stealing business and causing the sales slump.

I found the comment that IS is overpriced to be interesting. Heck, a bunch of hard working people spend hours taking photos, getting models, filing releases, editing, pay for expensive equipment, lights and cameras and a buyer says, they are over priced! I appreciate the buyers opinions but if IS is overpriced, then Microstock is dead. You can buy a decent size photo, professionally created, with model release, quality controlled, for about $5 on demand, and that's "too expensive"?

Do designers work for free? I mean, if someone wants free photos, and photographers to work for free, then they should be willing to work for free too!  :o

So what's killing the market? Subs, cheap competition or buyers who aren't willing to pay micro prices for high quality images? Makes me wonder...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 20:38
Padanova, Warren Price

I'm going to try to make my point as clear as I possibly can.
And this is my last post on the matter. Promise :)

I'm not talking about contributor commissions (higher, by the way, on all sites except Getty's family).

The subject here, right now, is about special offers.
Special offers are temporary promotions offered by agencies, to the buyers. These promotions happen from time to time. The costs of such promotions are normally covered by the agencies. Except Getty.
Is that clear enough?

Let's try a bit harder.

A few weeks ago Veer launched their new web site.
At the same time they offered a promotion to their buyers. (sounds familiar?)
The promotion was entirely covered by Veer.
Contributors didn't have to pay a cent.

About a month ago Graphic Leftovers launched a marketing campaing. It included a buyer promotion.
The promotion was entirely covered by Graphic Leftovers.
Contributors didn't have to pay a cent.

A few months ago Shutterstock made some changes to their search engine.
At the same time, they offered a promotion to their buyers.
The promotion was entirely covered by Shutterstock.
Contributors didn't have to pay a cent.

Some time last winter Dreamstime launched a marketing campaign. It included a buyer promotion.
The promotion was entirely covered by Dreamstime.
Contributors didn't have to pay a cent.

Deposit Photos - their promotion is still going on. For months.
Costs are entirely covered by Deposit Photos.
Contributors don't have to pay a cent.

The list goes on.

Are you trying to tell me that Deposit Photos can do it, but Getty can't afford to pay for a single week, 25% price reduction, without asking IStock contributors to pay for it themselves?
Getty's commission from non-exclusives is a whooping 80%.
And they still can't do it?
If that's the case, then Getty is in real trouble.
A 25% promotion paid for by contributors, won't do them much good.

Padanova, you still haven't answered my question.
Any other site, except IStock, that offers a buyer promotion and asks the contributors to pay for it themselves?
Forget about my poor sales, my portfolio or other sites' commissions for a second. Stay on topic.
Do you know of any?
I don't.

Ladies, Lisa, Cathy, Artemis and the others, top notch as usual :)
Thank you for standing up and trying your best to help improve things.
For the good of all of us.  
That's including Padanova :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 11, 2010, 20:43
So what's killing the market? Subs, cheap competition or buyers who aren't willing to pay micro prices for high quality images? Makes me wonder...

I think an underlying message of what's killing the market is clear in what hqimages said. It's us, the contributors. We do it to ourselves.

Buyers are going to cheaper sites. Contributors make less at cheaper sites. Contributors continue to support cheaper sites.

When a large enough percentage of unprofitable contributors give up, more sites will close, supply will drop, and demand will drive prices back up to a level that is sustainable for contrubutors to justify investing time.

Looks like we're headed downward. Enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: luissantos84 on August 11, 2010, 20:57
So what's killing the market? Subs, cheap competition or buyers who aren't willing to pay micro prices for high quality images? Makes me wonder...

I think an underlying message of what's killing the market is clear in what hqimages said. It's us, the contributors. We do it to ourselves.

Buyers are going to cheaper sites. Contributors make less at cheaper sites. Contributors continue to support cheaper sites.

When a large enough percentage of unprofitable contributors give up, more sites will close, supply will drop, and demand will drive prices back up to a level that is sustainable for contrubutors to justify investing time.

Looks like we're headed downward. Enjoy the ride.

ehehe seems like a lot of fun, what photos will those agencies have? just yours? :P
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 11, 2010, 21:24
ehehe seems like a lot of fun, what photos will those agencies have? just yours? :P

They will have photos from contributors who are profitable businesspeople.

I ran some numbers and I'm estimating the average hobbyist micro newbie earns less than 10 cents per hour for their efforts. Once this becomes common knowledge, hobbyists and other non serious business people will avoid micro and the existing ones will go back to Flickr where you don't make much less and it's more fun.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: rene on August 11, 2010, 21:45
No other site, as far as I know, has ever done such a thing.
No matter how big, well known the site, or up-coming and small.

Dear Eireann, I'm so glad to help you.
123Rf did. We got 0.20$ instead of 0.50$ (60% off)
"We've been running some promotions with some clients for which we gave completely free credits to them to test drive 123RF.com and our content.
We are paying out $0.20 for these credits, mind you they're free and our customer did not pay for them, we take this cost as part of our marketing and promotion budget and channel them to you instead of giving them away to Google/Yahoo and other advertisers".


About IS promotion - our royalties should not be affected. When I offer a gift I pay it with my money.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 21:46
Padanova, you still haven't answered my question.
Any other site, except IStock, that offers a buyer promotion and asks the contributors to pay for it themselves?
Forget about my poor sales, my portfolio or other sites' commissions for a second. Stay on topic.
Do you know of any?
I don't.

Ladies, Lisa, Cathy, Artemis and the others, top notch as usual :)
Thank you for standing up and trying your best to help improve things.
For the good of all of us.  
That's including Padanova :)

I wouldn't go down this road if I were you.  I'm not trying to call you out, but you are getting more argumentative on this issue.  If you want to turn this into a childish women vs. man debate, go ahead and lower yourself.  But I won't be a part of it.

For 4 years I contributed to BigStock, StockXpert, DT, FT, 123RF, LO, and on and on.  And I can also tell you that I received different royalties on any given day from the same agency, time and time again.  One day DT paid me 35 cents for a small sale, the next day 37 cents for the same sized sale.  Same thing at other agencies.  It's a fact we are all aware of.

Why?  Because we were being paid a fixed commission percentage...20%, 30%, 50%, whatever the agency offered.  But they were, and always have been, based on the sale price of the credit package at the time the buyer bought the package.  Sometimes the price was higher because it was a recent package.  Sometimes the price was lower because it was an older package.  

I'll guarantee sometimes the price was lower because the package was purchased during a short term promotional package or sale event.  And no, I haven't saved screen shots of agency sales over the last 4 years.  But I've seen plenty of them splashed on the front page, so I know they existed.  I don't always go straight to my account balance.

That I even have to debate such on obvious point is beyond ridiculous.  Sales happen, it's a way to attract new customers or get defecting customers to return.  And with the exception of 123RF, who 2 years ago had a promotional sale which offered very cheap imagery but covered our costs, I never remember an agency stepping up and raising our commission percentage to make up for the sale price.  Can you?  

And don't give me this "stay on topic" line, like you are the only person in this topic with a point to be made.  I told you a few posts back that you were wrong.  This is not the first sale in microstock history offered by a fixed commission percentage paying agency, and I don't need to gather evidence to offer proof of something so obvious.  I am on topic.  Which is why I am pointing out that you are wrong, yet again.

Now if you would like to write Dreamstime, 123RF, Fotolia, or any fixed commission percentage agency directly and ask them if they have ever had a sale event, because you think they have not, then by all means feel free.  Please let us know what you find.  
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Eireann on August 11, 2010, 21:54
Women versus men?
Hahaha!

I'm out of here. No more comments.
Good luck,
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 21:55
Some buyers prefer subscriptions, I am sure shutterstock would of continued raising prices if it wasn't for other sites like thinkstock keeping them down.  Now who owns thinkstock :)


I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: WarrenPrice on August 11, 2010, 22:40
Some buyers prefer subscriptions, I am sure shutterstock would of continued raising prices if it wasn't for other sites like thinkstock keeping them down.  Now who owns thinkstock :)

I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.


I don't know about clout or how much of the SLUMP is the fault of Think Stock or Getty or iStock.  I have noticed one interesting thing, however;  Think Stock is advertising, promoting, and marketing.  iStock is promoting (or offering cheaper images at Think Stock).  Maybe it's just me?  Every time I check my Yahoo, Verizon or Google email, there is an ad for Think Stock.  Think Stock is being credited for images used in Yahoo News.  Is it just that they have my address?  Am I the only one seeing the effort being paid for, I assume, by Think Stock? 

Maybe they are behind the slump but, if so, others are standing by idly letting it happen.

I have a feeling most of the industry has adopted the attitude, "Let's not worry about making more money.  Let's concentrate on keeping more money."   ::)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 00:16
It just doesn't add up though Warren.  If you take the growth of Thinkstock's traffic, it doesn't nearly equal loss of iStockphoto's traffic.  Nor the loss of Shutterstock's traffic.  I also don't buy the theory that everyone suddenly realized the economy wasn't in full recovery and all decided to stop purchasing stock photos at the same time.  But there is a severe slump being felt at all of the Big 4 if the contributor reports are to be believed, and the Alexa charts are to be believed.  None of us know what's going on, which makes it all the more unnerving.  I'm relatively certain Thinkstock isn't the culprit.  They don't even register yet on our "Low Earners" list.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 00:52
It just doesn't add up though Warren.  If you take the growth of Thinkstock's traffic, it doesn't nearly equal loss of iStockphoto's traffic.  Nor the loss of Shutterstock's traffic.  I also don't buy the theory that everyone suddenly realized the economy wasn't in full recovery and all decided to stop purchasing stock photos at the same time.  But there is a severe slump being felt at all of the Big 4 if the contributor reports are to be believed, and the Alexa charts are to be believed.  None of us know what's going on, which makes it all the more unnerving.  I'm relatively certain Thinkstock isn't the culprit.  They don't even register yet on our "Low Earners" list.

Agreeing with you on this one. Its too early for TS to be any culprit here.  Again as Ive said earlier, a business concept in the creative world gets its 10 years or so which is a proven track-record and thats it really. Plus the fact the entire Micro world house too much of everything, too many files and people are involved, the supply is outstripping the demand.
Its that easy!  were looking for culprits to blame, etc, chasing shadows but in reallity the Micro has peaked and now?  well the happy snappers will slowly dwindle away and the serious contributors has got no option but to remain.
IMO,  only a fool would start or join up with Micro agencies today,  the juicy days are history.  Seen this before  and its not a doom and gloom stuff, its a natural progression.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 12, 2010, 01:28
I have poor sales. You don't. You're successful and obviously know a lot more about this business than I do.
I feel the need to intervene here  ;)
You might have poor sales for now but your portfolio is excellent. Your opponent is right about observations about the industry but it doesn't matter. Your images are top, contentwise and qualitywise.
If sales are little for now, maybe it's your keywording or the whims of the search engines.
Doesn't let that discourage you and make more, more, more!
Join the guild of image producers that enjoys making images for the fun and the satisfaction. We regulars will never reach the numbers of the stock-beasts. I enjoyed every image I made and I frankly don't care about saleability. Some buyers must be attracted by it since most of my sales on DT are N/A (found by visual search) and I'm in a few niches that aren't covered without staring at the best sellers or copying, but just by coincidence.
So go on by all means.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 12, 2010, 02:59
I found the comment that IS is overpriced to be interesting. Heck, a bunch of hard working people spend hours taking photos, getting models, filing releases, editing, pay for expensive equipment, lights and cameras and a buyer says, they are over priced! I appreciate the buyers opinions but if IS is overpriced, then Microstock is dead. You can buy a decent size photo, professionally created, with model release, quality controlled, for about $5 on demand, and that's "too expensive"?

As iStock's prices have gone up, more and more people have drifted out a the microstock mind-set ("it's volume, stupid") to the trad mindset ("it's price, stupid").

To make the point, I will guarantee that I will put my entire portfolio on any site that pays me just 1c per download AS LONG AS that site guarantees me that it will sell every single photo five times a day for the next 10 years. That would be 5 x 365 x 10 guaranteed income per file, or $182.50c per picture.  Does anybody want to take me up on that? No? Tell you what, I'll even go exclusive for 10 years on that basis. Why? Because for 6.000 pictures that would be bringing me in $300 a day which is a hell of a lot more than I get from all the sites combined right now. In fact, I might even settle for 0.5c per sale on that basis.

Your earnings - whether you can pay for models, lights, cameras etc on top of the rent and food - depend on [av commission x av no. daily sales]. As long as neither of those numbers is zero and one of them is very high, it doesn't matter what the other one is. But as one goes up, the other one goes down. The question is where the balance lies which gives the maximum return from the sum. It looks as if iStock has pushed up commissions to the point where sales decline faster than commissions rise.

There are lots of factors affecting this in different ways, both from the perspective of the agency and the perspective of the photographer, but one of them is obviously the availability of images at different price points from other companies. Another is whether people would rather just do without an image than pay above a certain level.

However, price alone does not dictate whether or not microstock is dead for photographers.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: LostOne on August 12, 2010, 03:01
I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.

Here's another interesting statistic:
http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0 (http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0)

Guess who owns photos.com?

I don't understand what Getty wants to achieve. Why do they direct buyers towards sub sites? It must bring less royalties to them and ofc also to us. The only plausible explanation is that they wanna eat into Shutterstock sales. But is SS really such a pain in the ass that they are prepared to sacrifice IS?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: dirkr on August 12, 2010, 03:19

I think an underlying message of what's killing the market is clear in what hqimages said. It's us, the contributors. We do it to ourselves.

Buyers are going to cheaper sites. Contributors make less at cheaper sites. Contributors continue to support cheaper sites.

When a large enough percentage of unprofitable contributors give up, more sites will close, supply will drop, and demand will drive prices back up to a level that is sustainable for contrubutors to justify investing time.

Looks like we're headed downward. Enjoy the ride.

I have to disagree (to the statement bolded above).

As contributor I can make more on a site that sells for half of Istock's prices - when they give me 50% comission, as still some sites do.
If Istock wants (independent) contributors to stop supporting cheaper sites, they must raise comissions. Simple.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: thesentinel on August 12, 2010, 03:22
I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.

Here's another interesting statistic:
[url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url] ([url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url])

Guess who owns photos.com?

I don't understand what Getty wants to achieve. Why do they direct buyers towards sub sites? It must bring less royalties to them and ofc also to us. The only plausible explanation is that they wanna eat into Shutterstock sales. But is SS really such a pain in the ass that they are prepared to sacrifice IS?


If you change the search term istockphoto.com to istockphoto or istock you get a very different graph, of course if you take the .com off photos.com the result is very different yet again!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Danicek on August 12, 2010, 03:24
I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.

Here's another interesting statistic:
[url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url] ([url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url])

Guess who owns photos.com?

I don't understand what Getty wants to achieve. Why do they direct buyers towards sub sites? It must bring less royalties to them and ofc also to us. The only plausible explanation is that they wanna eat into Shutterstock sales. But is SS really such a pain in the ass that they are prepared to sacrifice IS?


This is indeed very interesting although have you noticed from where most of the photos.com traffic comes? India? Why such a huge portion?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 03:30
Some buyers prefer subscriptions, I am sure shutterstock would of continued raising prices if it wasn't for other sites like thinkstock keeping them down.  Now who owns thinkstock :)

Every time you bring up the evil empire and Thinkstock, matching established agency prices, I'll be forced to point out that Deposit Photos is undercutting those price levels, but no one seems to be targeting them as the problem.  ??? Oh that's right, DP pays 25c an upload for people to prostitute themselves, and gives away free credits to "buyers" for artificial sales numbers.  >:(

A number of people have pointed out that ThinkStock sales stink and are less than StockXpert sales, but then someone will counter that ThinkStock is hurting IS sales. How can they be selling less and hurting IS downloads at the same time. Some sort of math contradiction with that. It's impossible!  ;D

It's nice of ThinkStock to provide a convenient scapegoat for all the ills of the industry including sales slumps everywhere, but I really think people need to look further than blaming Getty and the recycling industry that ThinkStock represents, a collection of old photos from old agencies, dumped on a sub site. ThinkStock does not represent a vital competitive site, it's more like an old cobweb covered collection getting dusted off in hope of getting anything out of it.

Anyone criticizing Thinkstock without looking at what's offered there, should really take a few minutes just to see what's for sale, before they keep claiming it's stealing business and causing the sales slump.

I found the comment that IS is overpriced to be interesting. Heck, a bunch of hard working people spend hours taking photos, getting models, filing releases, editing, pay for expensive equipment, lights and cameras and a buyer says, they are over priced! I appreciate the buyers opinions but if IS is overpriced, then Microstock is dead. You can buy a decent size photo, professionally created, with model release, quality controlled, for about $5 on demand, and that's "too expensive"?

Do designers work for free? I mean, if someone wants free photos, and photographers to work for free, then they should be willing to work for free too!  :o

So what's killing the market? Subs, cheap competition or buyers who aren't willing to pay micro prices for high quality images? Makes me wonder...
I was replying to the post above mine that was about istock losing its buyers to subs sites when their owners have just opened a new subs site.  Can't you see the irony :)  But I still don't get how thinkstock matching other sites prices and paying me substantially less is a good idea.  As for depositphotos, they aren't going to take a significant amount of buyers away from the higher paying sites.  Thinkstock are in a completely different league.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 03:50
Thinkstock have no review costs and are selling their own content, they don't have to pay contributors anything for that.  How do we know how well they are doing when those images are at the top of their search?

I am so disappointed that shutterstock hasn't done more to fight back.  They have had months now to get their own exclusive images collection together, that would at least offer something that might bring in new buyers or stop them from looking elsewhere.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gaja on August 12, 2010, 03:56
For the first time I have had several sales at IS in one day. 5 the last 3 days. Could the buyers be responding to the reduced prices?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 03:57
Thinkstock have no review costs and are selling their own content, they don't have to pay contributors anything for that.  How do we know how well they are doing when those images are at the top of their search?

I am so disappointed that shutterstock hasn't done more to fight back.  They have had months now to get their own exclusive images collection together, that would at least offer something that might bring in new buyers or stop them from looking elsewhere.

Shutterstock seams to live in a world of their own, their editing is a down and out killer, for the worse that is.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: LostOne on August 12, 2010, 04:02
If you change the search term istockphoto.com to istockphoto or istock you get a very different graph, of course if you take the .com off photos.com the result is very different yet again!
No mather which one you choose you can see a downward trend for IS and upward trend for photos.com.
 (well expect if you use "photos", since its a generally used noun and has a much higher index because of that). It's also interesting to notice that this years summer slump on IS is much lower than last years.

I'm not sure why India is so dominant in the photos.com reports. Maybe there is a very aggressive marketing campaign going on there?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 12, 2010, 04:51
I am so disappointed that shutterstock hasn't done more to fight back.  They have had months now to get their own exclusive images collection together, that would at least offer something that might bring in new buyers or stop them from looking elsewhere.

I think SS are doing fine, especially in comparison to other agencies. They have 'fought back' with the introduction of PPD sales, directly competing with the others, and PPD sales continue to grow. Last month revenue from PPDs + ELs were 40% of my total. So far this month they are 50% of my total. If revenue from PPD + EL at SS were a separate agency they would actually be bigger than Dreamstime over the last couple of months. And all that when we haven't even had a pay rise at SS for nearly 3 years.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 05:21
I am so disappointed that shutterstock hasn't done more to fight back.  They have had months now to get their own exclusive images collection together, that would at least offer something that might bring in new buyers or stop them from looking elsewhere.

I think SS are doing fine, especially in comparison to other agencies. They have 'fought back' with the introduction of PPD sales, directly competing with the others, and PPD sales continue to grow. Last month revenue from PPDs + ELs were 40% of my total. So far this month they are 50% of my total. If revenue from PPD + EL at SS were a separate agency they would actually be bigger than Dreamstime over the last couple of months. And all that when we haven't even had a pay rise at SS for nearly 3 years.
Direct PPD sales were introduced 2 years ago now.  They did a good job with that but what have they done to counter the threat from the other sites moving in to subs?  What have they done to give an alternative for all the people that don't want to upload to lots of sites?  Why haven't they looked at Vetta and tried something similar to give their buyers a higher quality collection and their contributors the chance to earn higher commissions?

Shutterstock are doing well but I still think they need to do much more or they could end up regretting it.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 12, 2010, 05:26
I have to disagree (to the statement bolded above).
As contributor I can make more on a site that sells for half of Istock's prices - when they give me 50% comission, as still some sites do.
If Istock wants (independent) contributors to stop supporting cheaper sites, they must raise comissions. Simple.

So if you had the same 500 images at Istock and Featurepics, you would earn more at Featurepics?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Jo Ann Snover on August 12, 2010, 06:27
Adding one data point from an iStock exclusive, sales since F5 went live have been very good - seems more like September than August. I'm not thrilled about the wrinkles that make the site more of a pain for contributors, but as long as the buyers keep buying, I'll live with it.

I haven't been checking search placement of late, so I have no clue if anything has changed with respect to exclusives vs. independents. I haven't seen any odd patterns of sales - a good mix of newer and older files and Tuesday was as if someone had declared XXXL day - for no obvious reason, lots of larger sizes.

Sorry to hear that my experience isn't apparently typical.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: dirkr on August 12, 2010, 06:37
I have to disagree (to the statement bolded above).
As contributor I can make more on a site that sells for half of Istock's prices - when they give me 50% comission, as still some sites do.
If Istock wants (independent) contributors to stop supporting cheaper sites, they must raise comissions. Simple.

So if you had the same 500 images at Istock and Featurepics, you would earn more at Featurepics?

No, certainly not.

But if (big IF) buyers would move to Featurepics due to their lower prices, I would make more.

That's why I think it doesn't necessarily hurt to offer images at a lower price point.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 12, 2010, 06:48
Direct PPD sales were introduced 2 years ago now.  They did a good job with that but what have they done to counter the threat from the other sites moving in to subs?  What have they done to give an alternative for all the people that don't want to upload to lots of sites?  Why haven't they looked at Vetta and tried something similar to give their buyers a higher quality collection and their contributors the chance to earn higher commissions?

Shutterstock are doing well but I still think they need to do much more or they could end up regretting it.

What they've done, to counteract the threat from other sites offering subs, is to not give us a rise for three years. What would you suggest they do instead?

Realistically how could they offer exclusivity? They'd have to pay out a lot more in commissions without any means of charging their subs customers more. Don't forget that the profitability of the subs model is entirely reliant on customers not downloading all of their entitlement. A Vetta collection wouldn't work either at SS's position in the marketplace either __ it would like trying to sell fillet steak dinners at McDonald's.

I don't understand why you are so critical of SS. It was started by one bloke who opened his doors to budding photographers less than six years ago and has since grown into a business with something like $100M annual turnover __ the 2nd largest microstock agency in the world. At a guess they probably pay out in excess of $3M in commissions every month. I'm sure when Jon feels he needs you to advise him how to run his business better he will be in contact.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 07:31
Direct PPD sales were introduced 2 years ago now.  They did a good job with that but what have they done to counter the threat from the other sites moving in to subs?  What have they done to give an alternative for all the people that don't want to upload to lots of sites?  Why haven't they looked at Vetta and tried something similar to give their buyers a higher quality collection and their contributors the chance to earn higher commissions?

Shutterstock are doing well but I still think they need to do much more or they could end up regretting it.

What they've done, to counteract the threat from other sites offering subs, is to not give us a rise for three years. What would you suggest they do instead?

Realistically how could they offer exclusivity? They'd have to pay out a lot more in commissions without any means of charging their subs customers more. Don't forget that the profitability of the subs model is entirely reliant on customers not downloading all of their entitlement. A Vetta collection wouldn't work either at SS's position in the marketplace either __ it would like trying to sell fillet steak dinners at McDonald's.

I don't understand why you are so critical of SS. It was started by one bloke who opened his doors to budding photographers less than six years ago and has since grown into a business with something like $100M annual turnover __ the 2nd largest microstock agency in the world. At a guess they probably pay out in excess of $3M in commissions every month. I'm sure when Jon feels he needs you to advise him how to run his business better he will be in contact.
They could have exclusives images, charge the buyers more for those, as they aren't on other sites and pay us more commission.  What's wrong with trying that?  DT are allready charging more for subs with images that are on the higher levels and paying us higher commissions.  If one site is already doing it, why can't SS?  I don't think it would be hard to implement and it might give them something to stop more people going exclusive with istock. 

And I don't think giving my opinion in a forum is being critical of them, I have said lots of times that they are my favourite microstock site but I still think they could and should try to do better.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: luissantos84 on August 12, 2010, 07:58
ehehe seems like a lot of fun, what photos will those agencies have? just yours? :P

They will have photos from contributors who are profitable businesspeople.

I ran some numbers and I'm estimating the average hobbyist micro newbie earns less than 10 cents per hour for their efforts. Once this becomes common knowledge, hobbyists and other non serious business people will avoid micro and the existing ones will go back to Flickr where you don't make much less and it's more fun.

I am now a profitable businessguy thanks for the motivation :)

Flicker is a lot of fun for sure, never been there and won't go :P
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 12, 2010, 08:05
They could have exclusives images, charge the buyers more for those, as they aren't on other sites and pay us more commission.  What's wrong with trying that?  DT are allready charging more for subs with images that are on the higher levels and paying us higher commissions.  If one site is already doing it, why can't SS?  I don't think it would be hard to implement and it might give them something to stop more people going exclusive with istock. 

Yes, DT have been trying lots of things to squeeze ever more money out of both the customers and the contributors __ and look what's happened as a result. DT are now generating about 10% of my stock income whereas 4 years ago it was more like 20%. In comparison SS have maintained a relatively steady 25-30% of my income for 5 years. This month they are on target for 31% and pushing IS for supremacy (it's only because of a couple of chunky EL's that IS remains in the lead).

Unlike DT Jon has never reduced our commissions, introduced a 'lock-in', floated our stuff off to 'partner programmes, or substantially changed the ToS in any way. Yes, DT does have an exclusivity programme __ but the only thing it can do for you is to lose you the majority of your income. What's the point?

The beauty of SS has always been it's simplicity and straight dealing with both contributors and customers alike. It certainly doesn't need to learn any lessons from the like of DT.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 08:47
They could have exclusives images, charge the buyers more for those, as they aren't on other sites and pay us more commission.  What's wrong with trying that?  DT are allready charging more for subs with images that are on the higher levels and paying us higher commissions.  If one site is already doing it, why can't SS?  I don't think it would be hard to implement and it might give them something to stop more people going exclusive with istock. 

Yes, DT have been trying lots of things to squeeze ever more money out of both the customers and the contributors __ and look what's happened as a result. DT are now generating about 10% of my stock income whereas 4 years ago it was more like 20%. In comparison SS have maintained a relatively steady 25-30% of my income for 5 years. This month they are on target for 31% and pushing IS for supremacy (it's only because of a couple of chunky EL's that IS remains in the lead).

Unlike DT Jon has never reduced our commissions, introduced a 'lock-in', floated our stuff off to 'partner programmes, or substantially changed the ToS in any way. Yes, DT does have an exclusivity programme __ but the only thing it can do for you is to lose you the majority of your income. What's the point?

The beauty of SS has always been it's simplicity and straight dealing with both contributors and customers alike. It certainly doesn't need to learn any lessons from the like of DT.
I was only pointing out that it is possible to sell subs at higher prices.  DT are a mess for lots of other reasons, I don't think that is a big factor.

Don't you remember the last SS raise?  There were a lot of people complaining at the time but that seems to of been forgotten about, it looked like a commission cut to me but with their subs model we don't really know what commission we make.

Don't get me wrong, compared to the other big sites, they have been great but is that saying much?  I still think they can do much more to make themselves more money and pay us more.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 12, 2010, 08:57
I am now a profitable businessguy thanks for the motivation :)

Flicker is a lot of fun for sure, never been there and won't go :P

Are you sure you're profitable? A few hundred downloads are covering the cost of a D90 and lenses? And software, PC/upgrades, training, books, props, etc.?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: luissantos84 on August 12, 2010, 09:27
I don't have expenses my friend :) (got a big house with a big family)

just the new D90 for around 600EUR! sold the D60 for 300EUR :P

lenses got a cheap sigma 200eur and a 50mm for 100eur :P

I have computer since kid, stock or not everybody as a PC no??

software?? yeah I use GIMP for free :)

it is a lot of fun when a person wonders if other is profitable or not... LOL Am I stupid or what?? come on!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: SNP on August 12, 2010, 09:49
I'd believe it if Thinkstock actually had some clout.  Which they don't given their pitiful Alexa numbers.  They are growing, but their numbers are still laughably low.  SS was undercut by FT in my opinion 2 years ago.  The other agency sub plans seem to undercut SS too.  Everyone seems to want to blame Getty on this issue.  I bet they only wish Thinkstock had that type of industry power.

Here's another interesting statistic:
[url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url] ([url]http://google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+photos.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0[/url])

Guess who owns photos.com?

I don't understand what Getty wants to achieve. Why do they direct buyers towards sub sites? It must bring less royalties to them and ofc also to us. The only plausible explanation is that they wanna eat into Shutterstock sales. But is SS really such a pain in the ass that they are prepared to sacrifice IS?


If you change the search term istockphoto.com to istockphoto or istock you get a very different graph, of course if you take the .com off photos.com the result is very different yet again!



exactly.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 12, 2010, 09:57
Everyone keeps talking about Shutterstock and how they need to change. Right now it is my top earner. The commissions may be less, but they sale more, therefore earn more. The way I look at it...if it's not broke...don't fix it. Maybe there is some other reason for iStock's abrupt drop in sales...but if it is from change, I don't think I would want Shutterstock to do the same. That's just my opinion.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: vlad_the_imp on August 12, 2010, 09:58
Quote
I wonder if we'll start to see a drop in the number of exclusives toward the end of August, as a lag from the July debacle?

I know of one fairly high selling exclusive who left at the end of last year, he said it was a disastrous decision and he's now back as an exclusive.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 12, 2010, 12:38
Quote
I wonder if we'll start to see a drop in the number of exclusives toward the end of August, as a lag from the July debacle?

I know of one fairly high selling exclusive who left at the end of last year, he said it was a disastrous decision and he's now back as an exclusive.

Of course it was. If you are any distance up the ladder, then once you are exclusive you are trapped. Quitting means an instant slump in income of up to 50% back then, more like 60-70% now. To get that back you have to start building a reputation on three or four other sites, submitting all your old files, risking rejection if they are not up to today's standard, and having to establish yourself in the search order.

No exclusive worth his salt is going to quit Istock until things get a hell of a lot worse than they are now. If you ever see istock diamonds scurrying up out of the warm, womb-like hold to dive into the cruel waters of independence then you will know that the ship is already half under water.

At the same time, there is no way of knowing if a long-established exclusive might not have made more by spreading his/her effort between sites from the start. Probably not much less, anyway. It is trying to change over that is likely to see you fall on your arse. And the fall is worse going from iS to non-exclusive than the other way round.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 12, 2010, 13:02
The sales are somewhat improved and back to pre-F5 level today. Apparently the buyers are using the 25% discount coupon.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 12, 2010, 13:12
The sales are somewhat improved and back to pre-F5 level today. Apparently the buyers are using the 25% discount coupon.

I think so too...I've had a couple since I checked this morning.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 12, 2010, 13:14
The sales are somewhat improved and back to pre-F5 level today. Apparently the buyers are using the 25% discount coupon.

I've had two heavily discounted sales from a single buyer so far today  (same time, same price, same subject) and about a dozen more at normal rates, which is a bit better than recent days but not on a par with last August.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 12, 2010, 13:28

Of course it was. If you are any distance up the ladder, then once you are exclusive you are trapped. Quitting means an instant slump in income of up to 50% back then, more like 60-70% now. To get that back you have to start building a reputation on three or four other sites, submitting all your old files, risking rejection if they are not up to today's standard, and having to establish yourself in the search order.

No exclusive worth his salt is going to quit Istock until things get a hell of a lot worse than they are now. If you ever see istock diamonds scurrying up out of the warm, womb-like hold to dive into the cruel waters of independence then you will know that the ship is already half under water.

At the same time, there is no way of knowing if a long-established exclusive might not have made more by spreading his/her effort between sites from the start. Probably not much less, anyway. It is trying to change over that is likely to see you fall on your arse. And the fall is worse going from iS to non-exclusive than the other way round.

Perfectly stated Baldrick!  I sometimes get questioned by exclusives about whether they should go non-exclusive and this is always what I try to explain to them (although less articulately than you just summed it up). 

Most of us who have made it to high levels, either as independents or IS exclusives, have made our beds and have to lie in them.  It would be financially devastating to go from IS diamond exclusive to independent. 

But by the same token, this is what ultimately keeps me independent.   At a certain level it is just not practical to "try" exclusivity.  You stand to lose the countless hours you've put in uploading to the various sites, high ranks and favored search positions attained at the other Big Three, and good will earned through long relationships with all the sites and their buyers.  Once you were exclusive at IS it would be virtually impossible to rebuild your rank and relationships with the other sites if you wanted back in.  You would effectively be trapped in IS exclusivity.   
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 14:10
Blimey Lisa!!   this is beginning to sound serious. Why cant we have the best of two worlds?  half exclusive and half independant?  whats wrong with that, I know many whos had the cake and eaten it.
Well,  just a thought.

best.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 12, 2010, 14:37
Blimey Lisa!!   this is beginning to sound serious. Why cant we have the best of two worlds?  half exclusive and half independant?  whats wrong with that, I know many whos had the cake and eaten it.
Well,  just a thought.

best.

Because of Heisenburg's photo uncertainty principle: you cannot simultaneously know the revenue from being exclusive and non-exclusive because trying to pin down one causes certainty about the other to decay. You can measure one or other of these properties for a given photon-grapher, but not both.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: cathyslife on August 12, 2010, 14:45
...But by the same token, this is what ultimately keeps me independent.   At a certain level it is just not practical to "try" exclusivity.  You stand to lose the countless hours you've put in uploading to the various sites, high ranks and favored search positions attained at the other Big Three, and good will earned through long relationships with all the sites and their buyers.  Once you were exclusive at IS it would be virtually impossible to rebuild your rank and relationships with the other sites if you wanted back in.  You would effectively be trapped in IS exclusivity.   

baldrick did state it perfectly, and I am glad I did not do the exclusivity thing when I was contemplating it. baldrick kind of reaffirmed my decision to remain independent. At least I still have some choices being at several sites...exclusives have no choices. Let's hope they are not on a sinking ship and everybody enjoys good sales (including me).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 14:46
If you are any distance up the ladder, then once you are exclusive you are trapped. Quitting means an instant slump in income of up to 50% back then, more like 60-70% now. To get that back you have to start building a reputation on three or four other sites, submitting all your old files, risking rejection if they are not up to today's standard, and having to establish yourself in the search order.

edited for myth busting
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 12, 2010, 15:12
If you are any distance up the ladder, then once you are exclusive you are trapped. Quitting means an instant slump in income of up to 50% back then, more like 60-70% now. To get that back you have to start building a reputation on three or four other sites, submitting all your old files, risking rejection if they are not up to today's standard, and having to establish yourself in the search order.

There's another trap too.  All surplus images uploaded (beyond what is allowed for non-exclusives) are deleted.  So if a non-exclusive is allowed 15 uploads, and you give them 40 files that week because you are exclusive, only the first 15 stay online.  The other 25 get cut.   :'(

I didn't know that. So the moment you opt for non-exclusive, your portfolio could have files thrown out without regard for how well they have performed? Just on the basis that if you had been non-exclusive back then, you couldn't have uploaded so many?

If you rejoin the programme, do they reactivate those files? I suppose they would.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 15:14
I didn't know that. So the moment you opt for non-exclusive, your portfolio could have files thrown out without regard for how well they have performed? Just on the basis that if you had been non-exclusive back then, you couldn't have uploaded so many?

Yes that is correct unfortunately.

If you rejoin the programme, do they reactivate those files? I suppose they would.

I don't know.  I would hope so but I wouldn't want to count on it.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 12, 2010, 15:23
There's another trap too.  All surplus images uploaded (beyond what is allowed for non-exclusives) are deleted.  So if a non-exclusive is allowed 15 uploads, and you give them 40 files that week because you are exclusive, only the first 15 stay online.  The other 25 get cut.   :'(

*Groan* Oh no __ not this old codswallop being trotted out yet again. What is it about these 'microstock myths' that keeps them being endlessly regurgitated no matter how many times they have been proven to be untrue?

Here's Rob Sylvan's answer to that question from this very forum;

"This interpretation is completely incorrect. Canceling exclusivity does not result in all your content being removed from the site. All that happens is that your content is "removed" from being considered exclusive after 30 days (i.e., removed from exclusive-only searches, promotions, royalties, etc). After 90 days you can apply again to become exclusive if you wish.

I would encourage anyone with questions/concerns about the Artist Supply Agreement to contact iStock Contributor Relations directly."
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: vonkara on August 12, 2010, 15:25
I am now a profitable businessguy thanks for the motivation :)

Flicker is a lot of fun for sure, never been there and won't go :P

Are you sure you're profitable? A few hundred downloads are covering the cost of a D90 and lenses? And software, PC/upgrades, training, books, props, etc.?

That's what I thought, there is people willing to pay to be called a photographer
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 15:26
Wow, thanks for pointing that out Gostwyck.  I'm free!   ;D

Seriously, I've read that a thousand times over and believed it was true.  Never once saw anyone question it.  Glad you set me straight, and sorry for the misinformation spread.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Gannet77 on August 12, 2010, 15:36
^  And here's a similar comment from Rob in an iStock forum...

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=84027&page=1 (http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=84027&page=1)

part way down the page.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 15:50
Definitely good to know.  Thank you for dispelling that myth.  And I was being sarcastic above, obviously.  I love working with iStock exclusively.  Very good people over there.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: TheDman on August 12, 2010, 16:04
But I still don't understand why a number of people have noticed a sharp sales drop since F5 - if there is no search change, then is there something that buyers are finding confusing or offputting about the new site?

I don't think the few people commenting here has any statistical relevance. I've been fine since F5 (well, as fine as I was before it), and lisafx is saying the same. So we certainly can't come to any conclusions yet about the effect it has had.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: luissantos84 on August 12, 2010, 16:10
I am now a profitable businessguy thanks for the motivation :)

Flicker is a lot of fun for sure, never been there and won't go :P

Are you sure you're profitable? A few hundred downloads are covering the cost of a D90 and lenses? And software, PC/upgrades, training, books, props, etc.?

That's what I thought, there is people willing to pay to be called a photographer

Microstockgroup at his best! :) I won't continue this discussion once it is * ridiculous, have a nice summer!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 12, 2010, 16:10
I haven't noticed a difference associated with F5 either.  The summer has been dog slow, so no changes.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: epantha on August 12, 2010, 16:42
Downloads are back to normal now. Just had a bad couple of days.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: hoi ha on August 12, 2010, 21:35
Backtracking a page or two here, but Gostywick said:

"Don't forget that the profitability of the subs model is entirely reliant on customers not downloading all of their entitlement..."

I have seen this stated many times and wondered why that is true? From a maths POV I dont understand the logic ... can someone explain it to me? thanks
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 12, 2010, 22:04
The site has to pay a fixed amount per download.  If they paid contributors for all the downloads a buyer could take, they'd operate at a loss.  Or something like that.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: hoi ha on August 12, 2010, 22:20
The site has to pay a fixed amount per download.  If they paid contributors for all the downloads a buyer could take, they'd operate at a loss.  Or something like that.

I see them as breaking even with the maths but I suppose it depends too on the level of the contributor ... it's a fine balance these sites are striking ...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 13, 2010, 01:38
The site has to pay a fixed amount per download.  If they paid contributors for all the downloads a buyer could take, they'd operate at a loss.  Or something like that.

I see them as breaking even with the maths but I suppose it depends too on the level of the contributor ... it's a fine balance these sites are striking ...

When the calculation was first made, years ago, subscription prices were much lower and the payout per sale wasn't all that much different, so they would have made an outright loss. But even if they would now only pay out what they take in, they would still be working at a loss after paying for equipment, staff and advertising. Their profit margins must be similar to those of sites that pay between 50% and 20% in commission, to achieve that they need at least half the credits to go unused.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: dirkr on August 13, 2010, 03:23
Their profit margins must be similar to those of sites that pay between 50% and 20% in commission, to achieve that they need at least half the credits to go unused.

They need their customers to use a lot less than half the allowed downloads.

Look at Fotolia as an example.
Their marketing says "Images from 14 cents". That's the theoretical cost of an image with their biggest subscription (full year, 250 pics a day, single user). For comparison: the "most expensive" of their standard subscriptions (one month, 25 pics / day, unlimited users) comes to a price per image at 40 cents.

But they do have a fixed payout per download of 30 to 37 cents (depending on the contributor's rank).

So to reach a profit margin similar to let's say paying 50% commission, they must expect that users only download around one quarter or less of the biggest subscriptions and around half of the smallest ones.
To reach a profit margin comparable to paying 20% commission it's obviously a lot less...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Microbius on August 13, 2010, 05:28
The site has to pay a fixed amount per download.  If they paid contributors for all the downloads a buyer could take, they'd operate at a loss.  Or something like that.

I see them as breaking even with the maths but I suppose it depends too on the level of the contributor ... it's a fine balance these sites are striking ...

They have staff costs, over heads etc. to cover. So they would't be breaking even, they'd be running at a loss if their income only managed to cover payouts to contributors
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 13, 2010, 05:52
The commissions SS pay us for PPD sales and EL's equate to roughly 34% of the total sale value (it varies somewhat depending on the package/discount). My guess is that they are paying out a similar % on subscriptions too which would that mean the average customer only downloads about 1/3 of their entitlement.

Getting back on topic I can't say that I have noticed any difference in sales at Istock before or after the site changes. Things were pretty crap before and they still are. In the unlikely event that the new site design sent the buyers elsewhere they would probably still have credit packages to use up and so there would be an inevitable lag before we saw the effect. Buyers choose where to shop for a number of reasons. The Istock buyer presumably values the variety and quality of work at IS, the search results, customer service, etc none of which has changed because of the site re-design.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 13, 2010, 09:13
I don't think the few people commenting here has any statistical relevance.
You are totally correct. That's why I kept out of this thread. But I enjoy reading the observations of the big guns here. It's one of the better threads. (XL and L sizes sales on iStock the past 2 days more than made up my 3 no-sales days after F5 - this might be the time of year: I had an unusual high number of level 5 credit sales the past 2 days on DT).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 14, 2010, 01:22
Same here Ive been fine with the F5, no problem at all but I dont think thats the issue in this thread, somehow.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Artemis on August 15, 2010, 07:27
Yesterday i bumped into someone who works for a big production house that buys a lot of stock.
He said they have always used istock, but recently moved over to Shutterstock as istock got way too expensive. He was also complaining about so many images that cost easily $50/image. (Vetta).
Because we're so involved in stock we know what Vetta is about, but apparently not all buyers are aware and the fact that Vetta's are pushed to the front of the best match so agressively doesnt seem to be helping istock... that in combination with the other price raises makes maybe istock for big buyers isnt as interesting as it was anymore.
Of course this is only one company but i thought it was interesting to hear. (and was relieved they prefer shutterstock over TS ;))
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: malcam on August 15, 2010, 08:08
Yesterday i bumped into someone who works for a big production house that buys a lot of stock.
He said they have always used istock, but recently moved over to Shutterstock as istock got way too expensive. He was also complaining about so many images that cost easily $50/image. (Vetta).
Because we're so involved in stock we know what Vetta is about, but apparently not all buyers are aware and the fact that Vetta's are pushed to the front of the best match so agressively doesnt seem to be helping istock...

That's my feeling.
I think Vetta is a good idea, however vetta images are increasingly filling up the front of the searches. Take a search for young women. Out of the first hundred pics about 76 are Vetta. Over 50 of those have sold less than two times and about 35 have never sold. Some of these have been on-line for nearly a year. The fact that so few people are attracted enough to buy these images even when placed at the front of the search suggests that istock is losing touch with its customer base.

 I don't think that trying to force buyers to look at and buy these expensive offerings, many of which are of no interest to them, is the way to attract new buyers. It may even be putting old buyers off. Of course non people searches don't have nearly so many Vetta files but people searches are some of the most popular.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 15, 2010, 09:05
I think Vetta is a good idea, however vetta images are increasingly filling up the front of the searches. Take a search for young women. Out of the first hundred pics about 76 are Vetta. Over 50 of those have sold less than two times and about 35 have never sold. Some of these have been on-line for nearly a year. The fact that so few people are attracted enough to buy these images even when placed at the front of the search suggests that istock is losing touch with its customer base.

 I don't think that trying to force buyers to look at and buy these expensive offerings, many of which are of no interest to them, is the way to attract new buyers. It may even be putting old buyers off. Of course non people searches don't have nearly so many Vetta files but people searches are some of the most popular.

Ouch __ that's bad considering that Vetta are supposedly limited to just 1% of the collection. Not giving buyers the ability to 'opt out' of Vetta on searches, which is frequently being demanded in the forums, is looking like a bad idea and a frustrating experience for customers.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: malcam on August 15, 2010, 09:14

Ouch __ that's bad considering that Vetta are supposedly limited to just 1% of the collection. Not giving buyers the ability to 'opt out' of Vetta on searches, which is frequently being demanded in the forums, is looking like a bad idea and a frustrating experience for customers.

Buyers can opt out Vetta files using the advanced search but it's not well publicised. Also a lot of buyers never use advanced search.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 15, 2010, 10:03
Yeah I was thinking that new potential buyers, or buyers who don't keep up with istock changes, might see all of the high prices and just go elsewhere. So some current buyers probably have left and Vetta may be scaring off some new buyers who only see the high prices and just assume the entire site is higher priced.

Vetta and the normal collections should have been separated and clearly defined on the homepage. "Vetta Collection - Premium fresh creative images for 20-70 credits" and "Whatever Collection - huge selection of quality stock images for 1-40 credits".

I hate to use Photos.com as an example but they have "Photos.com" and "Photos.com Plus" that at least defines the different options.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 15, 2010, 10:35
Vetta is a good thing and theres some great imagery there but to push it to the very front, bad idea!  and it gives the impression of touting as well.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 15, 2010, 10:45
I agree it's a good thing. We need higher prices. Micro now gives buyers a lot of macro quality images at micro pricing.

Istock should have done a better job at defining the collections and showing the buyers the differences. I think it's okay to have Vetta up front in searches, but it there should be two separate clearly defined boxes for search results. the upper box should be Vetta with a "see more from this collection" at the bottom of the box and then the lower box should be the regular collection that also has a "see more from this collection". Or just some way of separating them. Vetta and regular tabs or whatever. Mixing search results together isn't the best way IMO.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 16, 2010, 01:16
If buyers are complaining ( which they are)  that the Vetta is so expensive, etc,  why cant they just separate the Vetta from the main collection, giving buyers the option?
On other hand, its gone so far that buyers seem to expect pictures for nothing! I mean Vetta is more expensive then the main but its still nowhere near the price for a "proper" RF or RM shot,  so whats the beef, really? probably they dont want the Vetta images pushed up in their face when searching. Dont know.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: yuliang11 on August 16, 2010, 04:08
microstock is dying  ;D
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: grp_photo on August 16, 2010, 08:21
microstock is dying  ;D
Everything has to die (sooner or later).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Graffoto on August 16, 2010, 08:53
Long live macro!  ;D
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 17, 2010, 08:30
Long live macro!  ;D
Where did Macrosaur go? I always enjoyed his sarcastic comments till his cover was blown away.  ;)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 17, 2010, 10:33
Yesterday i bumped into someone who works for a big production house that buys a lot of stock.
He said they have always used istock, but recently moved over to Shutterstock as istock got way too expensive. He was also complaining about so many images that cost easily $50/image. (Vetta).
Because we're so involved in stock we know what Vetta is about, but apparently not all buyers are aware and the fact that Vetta's are pushed to the front of the best match so agressively doesnt seem to be helping istock... that in combination with the other price raises makes maybe istock for big buyers isnt as interesting as it was anymore.
Of course this is only one company but i thought it was interesting to hear. (and was relieved they prefer shutterstock over TS ;))

See!  trouble is,  when you launch a so called "special collection" which is fine ofcourse, you got to make very, very sure it really is a special-collection and in every sense. Lots of "arty" , comical and far out shots are not enough, art, very seldom sell anyway. You could probably take Bruce Webbers or Newtons most famous shots here and they simply wouldnt sell.
All this was tried and tested by The-Image-Bank in late 80s. Bunch of world famous photographers put their images on sale and it was a total flopp from start to finish.

Vetta however is selling pretty well Ive heard but its still regarded as too expensive for what it is. Its like comparing a buyer going to the Getty-RM wading through the files just to find out the shot will set him back say 500 bucks when hundereds of very, very similar Micros will cost him a fraction of the price.

There is also a new trend moving all over the world, its about ordinary, ordinary, real people, ordinary jobs, ordinary things, etc, plasticky looking models seems to be tabu, its better to show an overweight madam eating a dripping hamburger, etc.
Latest Range-Rover campaign really sums it up, for the first time instead of this rich, luxuary couple stepping out of the the car,  out comes these two ordinary fellas, scruffily dressed in fishing gear, going fishing.

I think that if Micro is going to survive this dip, they really have to start concentrating on the real world.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 17, 2010, 11:24

There is also a new trend moving all over the world, its about ordinary, ordinary, real people, ordinary jobs, ordinary things, etc, plasticky looking models seems to be tabu, its better to show an overweight madam eating a dripping hamburger, etc.
Latest Range-Rover campaign really sums it up, for the first time instead of this rich, luxuary couple stepping out of the the car,  out comes these two ordinary fellas, scruffily dressed in fishing gear, going fishing.

I think that if Micro is going to survive this dip, they really have to start concentrating on the real world.

I agree 100% lagereek. There are still the "model" studio shots needed out there, but a lot of the buyers are starting to want the candid "real people" shots. You've heard it a lot lately. I've heard it from several buyers and they are going elsewhere to get those real shots because there is a lack of it on stock sites. These stock sites need to really start listening to the buyers.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 17, 2010, 12:30
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: abimages on August 17, 2010, 12:38
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Very true! We have heard buyers moaning about this for years, I tried it once or twice and it wasn't terribly successful. Buyers still seem to buy shiny happy models ???
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 17, 2010, 12:51
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Although there is some demand for 'real people' there surely has to be a much greater demand for the cookie-cutter type images (which mostly make me puke) otherwise they wouldn't dominate the search results and/or Yuri et al would be doing them as well. You know what they say "Stock photography is largely about portraying the world as we'd like it to be, not how it is". Can you imagine the classic 'girl wearing headset' shot being a popular seller if it featured an overweight, bored-looking individual who is most probably the sort of person you usually get to speak to. Now that would be real.

'Real people' is a good start to defining the less set-up style shots although it is such a subjective judgement I don't know how it could be accurately policed. After all just about every successful stock image has been very carefully set-up. The only significant difference is how much the photographer paid out for their sets and models.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 17, 2010, 13:06
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 


Hi Lisa!

Exactly!!!!!!   but as you say, they are well and truly hidden. Micro has to wake up to the fact the Barbie and Ken era is over. The RM has realized it!!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 17, 2010, 13:10
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Although there is some demand for 'real people' there surely has to be a much greater demand for the cookie-cutter type images (which mostly make me puke) otherwise they wouldn't dominate the search results and/or Yuri et al would be doing them as well. You know what they say "Stock photography is largely about portraying the world as we'd like it to be, not how it is". Can you imagine the classic 'girl wearing headset' shot being a popular seller if it featured an overweight, bored-looking individual who is most probably the sort of person you usually get to speak to. Now that would be real.

'Real people' is a good start to defining the less set-up style shots although it is such a subjective judgement I don't know how it could be accurately policed. After all just about every successful stock image has been very carefully set-up. The only significant difference is how much the photographer paid out for their sets and models.

Nope!  this time your slightly wrong. We are led to believe so by the glossiness but in reality I woulod say its pretty much on par. I see it every day.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 17, 2010, 13:14
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Yes there are and they are buried. Most buyers don't want to dig to find them. They are buried under the model shots simply because those are still popular and were popular in the past and have been downloaded time and time again. I don't know how a site would be able to separate the two. You do a search for most popular...you get the most downloaded. You do a search with best match...it's going to pull up a variety, but the most downloaded will probably be on top..If you do a search by the newest.....you might find some and maybe not. Buyers don't feel like digging through the pages and pages of images just to find that one shot.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gaja on August 17, 2010, 13:28
But how do you keyword these "real" shots? Do you use the keyword "real", or is "candid" more well known amongst buyers?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 17, 2010, 13:37
But how do you keyword these "real" shots? Do you use the keyword "real", or is "candid" more well known amongst buyers?

Anymore I use "candid" "natural" "human".....as to rather that works or not I don't know because I don't have a portfolio full of people shots.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 17, 2010, 13:44
Look guys, when I said "real" people, obviously I dont mean candid shots of people looking wide-eyed, pimply and with crocked teeth but real people still looking good. Thats all.
The glossy stuff might be the most popular, sure but times are changing, maybe not now but in a few years time that will be it. So its important that micro is not lagging behind.
Take a long good look at some of the worlds leading brand names, how they have changed their advertising and PR language, changed their slogans, etc.
banking world for example, gone is the luxury car and bungalow, today its about security for the older couple just pensioned off or the ordinary young couple, happy with just having a decent job and some savings.
Its not Hollywood anymore. After all financial derpressions its more like skidrow.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: donding on August 17, 2010, 13:59
Look guys, when I said "real" people, obviously I dont mean candid shots of people looking wide-eyed, pimply and with crocked teeth but real people still looking good. Thats all.

Candid to me isn't snap shots. Candid to me is natural looking shots of people in natural environments, not appearing posed, but natural. I don't consider candid as wide-eyed, pimply person with crooked teeth smiling big at the camera. That to me is a snap shot.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 17, 2010, 14:03
The glossy stuff might be the most popular, sure but times are changing, maybe not now but in a few years time that will be it. So its important that micro is not lagging behind.

Nope __ you forget that micro is a volume business. Getting the occasional sale on macro might be fine but it won't pay the bills at micro prices. The world isn't changing any time soon because humans are biologically programmed to like looking at beautiful people. Almost all the people you see on advertisements are so uncommonly good-looking that they are literally freaks of nature. I'll believe the world is changing when the most popular movie stars look like 'ordinary' people. Movies are largely about escapism (from the relative drudgery of ordinary life) and so is stock photography.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 17, 2010, 14:12
Since I became exclusive, my sales went downhill.

After F5 alive, my sale number rarely changes when I hit F5. Now I am at the bottom.

It is so depressing.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 17, 2010, 14:19
Perfect looking people are not real?    :'(
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 17, 2010, 14:21
Perfect looking people are not real?    :'(
Ever heard of 'Adobe Photoshop'?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 17, 2010, 14:25
Perfect looking people are not real?    :'(
Ever heard of 'Adobe Photoshop'?
Ever heard of perfect looking people 100% natural?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 17, 2010, 14:30
Ever heard of perfect looking people 100% natural?

Yes I've heard of them but, like fairies, mermaids and leprechauns, I've never actually seen any.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 17, 2010, 15:21
The trend may be changing, but whenever I have done a search for a people-shot of some kind of profession or situation and sort the results by number of downloads, the beautiful/handsome people have the most downloads and the normal-looking people are at the end.  Not only are the bestsellers uncommonly good looking, but they're often better dressed and more excessively made up than real people would be.

Another problem is that "real" people tend to have real jobs and have no financial motivation to pose for stock photos, and don't particularly feel like giving away freebies to photographers.  And for professional reasons they do not want their picture showing up all over stock websites or worse in a billboard or magazine ad.

As for the scene looking fake or not ... the problem is that more "real" the situation is, the harder to control the lighting, the more people in the shot from whom model releases are required, and the more copyrighted or trademarked objects which appear.  I shot in a "real" elementary school classroom the other day and there was hardly a square inch that did not have copyrighted materials displayed.  I had to do a lot of re-arranging and the teacher was not thrilled at the number of posters, etc. that I took off the walls and the number of desks that I moved.  Even if you do all the work to create the lighting, get the model releases or shoo people out of the way, and remove and/or photoshop trademarks etc., such a photo might not sell - because the real world is chaotic and messy, but graphic artists need to tell simple, clear stories with the materials they create.  Often what they are selling is a product or service whose selling point is simplicity, clarity, ease of use, etc. so photos are required which help to give this impression.

Also, most people think they are better-than-average looking, they want to associate with other good-looking people, and they react more positively to pictures of beautiful people than of normal or ugly people.  The crude expression in English is "sex sells" but to give a more Darwinian definition, "good genes sell".  Curves, muscles, good bone structure, thick hair and robust youthfulness are all signs of genetic fitness and primates are naturally attracted to these individuals not only as potential mates, but as good providers from whom they could benefit by association.

But I'm not a graphic artist and I don't know any personally - I would still like anyone out there who buys photos regularly to add their comments and show what they consider to be good and bad examples.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: KB on August 17, 2010, 15:33
If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day
iStock's CV has the term real people in it.  ;D

But the problem with that is twofold: 1). Buyers don't necessarily know to use that term in their search; and 2). As always, there are plenty of photographers who, knowingly or not, include the term when it's quite obviously not relevant.

Both problems can be solved, but I haven't seen any effort made towards doing so lately.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 17, 2010, 16:20
The glossy stuff might be the most popular, sure but times are changing, maybe not now but in a few years time that will be it. So its important that micro is not lagging behind.

Nope __ you forget that micro is a volume business. Getting the occasional sale on macro might be fine but it won't pay the bills at micro prices. The world isn't changing any time soon because humans are biologically programmed to like looking at beautiful people. Almost all the people you see on advertisements are so uncommonly good-looking that they are literally freaks of nature. I'll believe the world is changing when the most popular movie stars look like 'ordinary' people. Movies are largely about escapism (from the relative drudgery of ordinary life) and so is stock photography.

I definitely take your point.  Mostly the movies still are full of the most beautiful looking people.  Particularly American movies. 

One reason I really enjoy watching British movies is that the actors are much more real looking.  If Judy Dench or Helen Mirren was American they would have had 20 facelifts each by now.  Thank God they haven't!

And even in (Independent) American movies, real people are starting to get more leading rolls.  Paul Giamatti and Steve Buscemi seem to be keeping quite busy. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Perry on August 17, 2010, 16:34
There is a certain difference in advertising between USA and Europe. Here in Europe we tend to have more "normal" looking people in ads instead of the "too beautiful" that are seen in the USA. We here in Europe tend to think that the more realistic people are also more believable.

(NOTE: with "normal" I don't mean ugly people, just that they are not outlandishly exotic looking but still attractive in their own way)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: RacePhoto on August 17, 2010, 16:35
The glossy stuff might be the most popular, sure but times are changing, maybe not now but in a few years time that will be it. So its important that micro is not lagging behind.

Nope __ you forget that micro is a volume business. Getting the occasional sale on macro might be fine but it won't pay the bills at micro prices. The world isn't changing any time soon because humans are biologically programmed to like looking at beautiful people. Almost all the people you see on advertisements are so uncommonly good-looking that they are literally freaks of nature. I'll believe the world is changing when the most popular movie stars look like 'ordinary' people. Movies are largely about escapism (from the relative drudgery of ordinary life) and so is stock photography.

I definitely take your point.  Mostly the movies still are full of the most beautiful looking people.  Particularly American movies. 

One reason I really enjoy watching British movies is that the actors are much more real looking.  If Judy Dench or Helen Mirren was American they would have had 20 facelifts each by now.  Thank God they haven't!

And even in (Independent) American movies, real people are starting to get more leading rolls.  Paul Giamatti and Steve Buscemi seem to be keeping quite busy. 

Hilary Swank is kind of "normal" looking and popular also.

Back on topic, I think marketing people will always want natural looking, above average appearance people. You want to make your product popular by association. Well dressed, intelligent, good looking people, use this = so should you!  ;D Phony or not, it's advertising, not reality or the truth.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: cmcderm1 on August 17, 2010, 16:54
Yeah - definitely slower.  Summer slump or a longer term trend.  I hope for the summer slump!!!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: vonkara on August 17, 2010, 17:10
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

This is exactly my problem most of times. This and having several different images from the same model, in different situation. What I dislike the most with perfect shot, it's the nonexistent shadow everywhere in the image. I won't even talk about the blown out, that you cant recover easily.

Those perfect images are the same as those info-publicity at television. It's only good when you advertise H2O Vacuum's and try to hide the truth, it's a crappy product...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 17, 2010, 17:14
The glossy stuff might be the most popular, sure but times are changing, maybe not now but in a few years time that will be it. So its important that micro is not lagging behind.

Nope __ you forget that micro is a volume business. Getting the occasional sale on macro might be fine but it won't pay the bills at micro prices. The world isn't changing any time soon because humans are biologically programmed to like looking at beautiful people. Almost all the people you see on advertisements are so uncommonly good-looking that they are literally freaks of nature. I'll believe the world is changing when the most popular movie stars look like 'ordinary' people. Movies are largely about escapism (from the relative drudgery of ordinary life) and so is stock photography.

I definitely take your point.  Mostly the movies still are full of the most beautiful looking people.  Particularly American movies. 

One reason I really enjoy watching British movies is that the actors are much more real looking.  If Judy Dench or Helen Mirren was American they would have had 20 facelifts each by now.  Thank God they haven't!

And even in (Independent) American movies, real people are starting to get more leading rolls.  Paul Giamatti and Steve Buscemi seem to be keeping quite busy. 

Hilary Swank is kind of "normal" looking and popular also.

Back on topic, I think marketing people will always want natural looking, above average appearance people. You want to make your product popular by association. Well dressed, intelligent, good looking people, use this = so should you!  ;D Phony or not, it's advertising, not reality or the truth.

Sure but were not talking movies, opera, Hollywood, gucci, valentino or Armani here, were talking Micro, you know, the last resort for somebody who doesnt have money to spend on shots.
Lets not overestimate the macros and micros, theres nothing exclusive about it and theres no reason to go deep down in the philosophy.
Its just a bottomless pit of pictures off the peg, thats all.
The glossy stuff will ofcourse always be there but the natural look is getting more and more used, in fact in the world of big-time advertising, corporate its pretty often preffered, then again its right here the big money is.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 17, 2010, 21:48
Back on topic, I think marketing people will always want natural looking, above average appearance people.
Quote
It has been said that image buyers want real people, guys and gals nextdoor. Plain friendly people that everybody can identify with. But that's simply not true. What they like and what viewers of advertisement like are models they wished to live nextdoor, not the ones that actually live nextdoor.
( from What sells? (http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=91))
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 18, 2010, 00:37
Back on topic, I think marketing people will always want natural looking, above average appearance people.
Quote
It has been said that image buyers want real people, guys and gals nextdoor. Plain friendly people that everybody can identify with. But that's simply not true. What they like and what viewers of advertisement like are models they wished to live nextdoor, not the ones that actually live nextdoor.
( from What sells? ([url]http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=91[/url]))



Well right this moment ( hence this thread)  the supply is outstripping the demand by far. IS buyers seem to have run for cover and its the same right across the board. Doesnt say very much for the glossy or natural stuff, does it?
I mean theres got to be a sure sign of lousy market when buyers ask to remove the Vettas from mainstream and yet they only cost, what? about 30 bucks, isnt it?  and its not because of summertime, its been and gone.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 18, 2010, 01:15
Quote
It has been said that image buyers want real people, guys and gals nextdoor. Plain friendly people that everybody can identify with. But that's simply not true. What they like and what viewers of advertisement like are models they wished to live nextdoor, not the ones that actually live nextdoor.
( from What sells? ([url]http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=91[/url]))

Exactly!  I Agree 100% 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: dirkr on August 18, 2010, 01:55
Since I became exclusive, my sales went downhill.

After F5 alive, my sale number rarely changes when I hit F5. Now I am at the bottom.

It is so depressing.

Cheer up!

Once you're down at the very bottom, there is only one way to go...





















... sideways  ;D


Sorry, couldn't resist...

My sales at IS are miserable too. May has been ok, but since then it's down all the way, July being less than a third of May  >:(
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 18, 2010, 02:05
I agree it's a good thing. We need higher prices. Micro now gives buyers a lot of macro quality images at micro pricing.

At $50 a pop you could dig out plenty of RM stuff. $40 or $50 cost to buyers is quite normal on Alamy and I think I read some time ago about Getty launching a "Trad" collection selling at below $50. So it isn't "microstock" any more. I guess iStock/Getty wants to use iS as a vehicle to drive high value sales, with the "great photos from $1" blurb being the bait. If that is the strategy, it really isn't going to work.  Trads don't have the volume of sales and if Istock gets lumped with them in people's minds the result will be disastrous.

Both days this week iS is way behind SS in earnings and yesterday was behind Fotolia and DT, too.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 18, 2010, 02:24
I agree it's a good thing. We need higher prices. Micro now gives buyers a lot of macro quality images at micro pricing.

At $50 a pop you could dig out plenty of RM stuff. $40 or $50 cost to buyers is quite normal on Alamy and I think I read some time ago about Getty launching a "Trad" collection selling at below $50. So it isn't "microstock" any more. I guess iStock/Getty wants to use iS as a vehicle to drive high value sales, with the "great photos from $1" blurb being the bait. If that is the strategy, it really isn't going to work.  Trads don't have the volume of sales and if Istock gets lumped with them in people's minds the result will be disastrous.

Both days this week iS is way behind SS in earnings and yesterday was behind Fotolia and DT, too.

At least IMO, Alamy has done one good thing, their novel-use, similar to Macro/micro,  I had 299 sales within a couple of weeks. Perhaps IS should stop promoting themselves as Micro and instead concentrate on the higher end, maybe buyers would think they get something special.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 18, 2010, 04:12
At least IMO, Alamy has done one good thing, their novel-use, similar to Macro/micro,  I had 299 sales within a couple of weeks. Perhaps IS should stop promoting themselves as Micro and instead concentrate on the higher end, maybe buyers would think they get something special.

Any idea if that was them crediting you with sales from the last 12 months or if it was live sales? I had two (small) annual lumps and a scattering since then which seem to be being reported live. Their prices are too low, though: even with 50% commission it is still well below the average microstock payout. As far as I know, they are not making any real impact through that programme.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 18, 2010, 05:28
At least IMO, Alamy has done one good thing, their novel-use, similar to Macro/micro,  I had 299 sales within a couple of weeks. Perhaps IS should stop promoting themselves as Micro and instead concentrate on the higher end, maybe buyers would think they get something special.

Any idea if that was them crediting you with sales from the last 12 months or if it was live sales? I had two (small) annual lumps and a scattering since then which seem to be being reported live. Their prices are too low, though: even with 50% commission it is still well below the average microstock payout. As far as I know, they are not making any real impact through that programme.

Hi!

Dont really know how successfull or not they are with this Novel-use, all I know is Ive got a heck of a lot of sales since they introduced it but it seems to be the same within their RF, definetely on the rise.

Frankly Im experiencing a big rise in RM and RF  which is weird considering the finance climat, Not saying its got anything to do with the Micro slump but if its right across the board its an issue for the micro industry, isnt it?

best.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 18, 2010, 05:58
I agree it's a good thing. We need higher prices. Micro now gives buyers a lot of macro quality images at micro pricing.
At $50 a pop you could dig out plenty of RM stuff. $40 or $50 cost to buyers is quite normal on Alamy and I think I read some time ago about Getty launching a "Trad" collection selling at below $50. So it isn't "microstock" any more. I guess iStock/Getty wants to use iS as a vehicle to drive high value sales, with the "great photos from $1" blurb being the bait. If that is the strategy, it really isn't going to work.  Trads don't have the volume of sales and if Istock gets lumped with them in people's minds the result will be disastrous.
Both days this week iS is way behind SS in earnings and yesterday was behind Fotolia and DT, too.

$50 RM on Alamy? RM price depends on usage so not a good comparison. An RF license there is $5 to $365, Vetta is $20 to $70. Good luck finding something creative there among all of the snapshots and 50 different poses of the same model. And Alamy is heavily discounting which I absolutely do not want my agent doing. I've seen all of the posts about sales for peanuts that the RM calculator was showing was supposed to be hundreds or thousands of dollars.  I don't think anybody is earning anything significant at Alamy and the discounting isn't helping. Alamy is becoming micro because their only value proposition has been "we have 15 million images". Yeah, well so do the micros and now they have no value proposition.

And so because IS is behind for you does that mean it's an industry trend and it's behind for everybody? It looks like sales are down everywhere.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: iclick on August 18, 2010, 07:09
Yesterday i bumped into someone who works for a big production house that buys a lot of stock.
He said they have always used istock, but recently moved over to Shutterstock as istock got way too expensive. He was also complaining about so many images that cost easily $50/image. (Vetta).
Because we're so involved in stock we know what Vetta is about, but apparently not all buyers are aware and the fact that Vetta's are pushed to the front of the best match so agressively doesnt seem to be helping istock... that in combination with the other price raises makes maybe istock for big buyers isnt as interesting as it was anymore.
Of course this is only one company but i thought it was interesting to hear. (and was relieved they prefer shutterstock over TS ;))

This is interesting as I have experienced the same thing and have spent allot of time assuring friends which deal with Istock to just look further back in the search and the less expensive choices are there, whether or not they are prepared to put the time in of course is another matter, no wonder my sales are still tumbling  >:( This really need to be addressed imo

Have no problem with Vetta Pricing as such but for heavens sake why not have a separate category after all if it really is that good and in demand it should sell itself without hogging the first pages of every search
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 18, 2010, 07:10
...I don't think anybody is earning anything significant at Alamy....
That's wrong.  People sometimes say how much they have been earning in their forum and on the alamy pro forum.  There might not be many but some are earning more than 95% of microstockers.  It takes a huge portfolio but as they accept almost everything, that is possible there, with a lot of hard work.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 18, 2010, 07:28
True!  I know many photographers belonging to Alamy, majority is doing ok but a few are doing very well indeed. A few that came via Pictor are doing great.
Even so they are outgunned by Getty and Corbis on the RM and RF side, still theyre ticking over.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 18, 2010, 07:48
Alamy has not been huge for me, it trails along in fourth or fifth place but it is still big enough to be significant. I don't feed into their main market, though.

Paulie, iStock and Alamy are different. If reality rather than studio glitz is your requirement, Alamy is probably a better bet. If you want Vetta "creative", fine. The iStock hype that their chosen files are the only really great ones on the market is just that - hype. They simply represent a particular genre.

I still don't see sales down everywhere (is it iStock exclusives who keep saying that?). I see them up at SS and Fotolia, mixed at Dreamstime (as usual) but seriously down at iStock.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 18, 2010, 08:00
...I don't think anybody is earning anything significant at Alamy....
That's wrong.  People sometimes say how much they have been earning in their forum and on the alamy pro forum.  There might not be many but some are earning more than 95% of microstockers.  It takes a huge portfolio but as they accept almost everything, that is possible there, with a lot of hard work.

For earnings I've seen plenty of posts at Alamy saying you can expect to earn 50 cents to $1 per image per year. Micro seems to average about 50 cents to $1 per month. I then see quite a few people say they have several thousand images and earned a couple hundred dollars for the month. If there's anybody there with better sales performance than micros I don't see them posting about it.

And when you say "earning more" are you comparing apples to apples? Or do you need 10x as many images at Alamy to earn the same monthly amount as micros?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 18, 2010, 08:05
As far as I get from the forums, Alamy is a big hit for British folk who enjoy wandering around the island snapping pictures of every square inch.  They then license these to local papers and textbooks.  You seem to be assured of making under $1000 a year from 10,000 such images.

Of course, like micro, a few are more successful.  Most aren't, really, or at least are as successful as they seem to want to be.  Certainly, no one is saying "I quit my day job based on my Alamy income".
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 18, 2010, 08:11
As far as I get from the forums, Alamy is a big hit for British folk who enjoy wandering around the island snapping pictures of every square inch.  They then license these to local papers and textbooks.  You seem to be assured of making under $1000 a year from 10,000 such images.

Of course, like micro, a few are more successful.  Most aren't, really, or at least are as successful as they seem to want to be.  Certainly, no one is saying "I quit my day job based on my Alamy income".

Thats right, British photoagencies are extremly conservative and true, if youre a good landscape artist and especially England, Scotland, wales and Ireland, bloody hell!  youll be laughing all the way to the bank.

On a differant note, I think IS is holding up pretty well though, all the Micros are down, some more then others but all into account IS can still produce.

best.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Artemis on August 18, 2010, 08:11
Yesterday i bumped into someone who works for a big production house that buys a lot of stock.
He said they have always used istock, but recently moved over to Shutterstock as istock got way too expensive. He was also complaining about so many images that cost easily $50/image. (Vetta).
Because we're so involved in stock we know what Vetta is about, but apparently not all buyers are aware and the fact that Vetta's are pushed to the front of the best match so agressively doesnt seem to be helping istock... that in combination with the other price raises makes maybe istock for big buyers isnt as interesting as it was anymore.
Of course this is only one company but i thought it was interesting to hear. (and was relieved they prefer shutterstock over TS ;))

This is interesting as I have experienced the same thing and have spent allot of time assuring friends which deal with Istock to just look further back in the search and the less expensive choices are there, whether or not they are prepared to put the time in of course is another matter, no wonder my sales are still tumbling  >:( This really need to be addressed imo

Have no problem with Vetta Pricing as such but for heavens sake why not have a separate category after all if it really is that good and in demand it should sell itself without hogging the first pages of every search
I agree, I also think Vetta is a great collection and an excellent idea, but stop shoving it in the buyers faces like that already!
What does the 'typical' buyer do? They dont read newsletters or forums; they go to the site and perform a search. If they get as first results images that cost $50 i can vivdly imagine they walk out to somewhere else (which seems already to be the case).
I think Paulie's idea with the 2 different search-result boxes both with a 'see more of this collection' would be a perfect solution.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 18, 2010, 08:14
I have seen several people say they earn $100k or more with alamy, and it isn't just photos of the UK.  There are some good travel photographers that go all round the world.  It's only going to be a few people that make that much, some make more than my microstock earnings with less than 10k images.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 18, 2010, 08:15
Alamy has not been huge for me, it trails along in fourth or fifth place but it is still big enough to be significant. I don't feed into their main market, though.

Paulie, iStock and Alamy are different. If reality rather than studio glitz is your requirement, Alamy is probably a better bet. If you want Vetta "creative", fine. The iStock hype that their chosen files are the only really great ones on the market is just that - hype. They simply represent a particular genre.

I still don't see sales down everywhere (is it iStock exclusives who keep saying that?). I see them up at SS and Fotolia, mixed at Dreamstime (as usual) but seriously down at iStock.

I'm aware that they're different. Reality for Alamy to me looks like snapshots. If they're selling well that's great. Maybe I need to send snapshots there. I haven't been able to figure out what sells at Alamy other than the advice I've seen of "you need a gazillion images". Doesn't really sound like a good use of time to process 10,000 images to earn a couple hundred dollars per month. I invest time where I can expect good sales performance. If I have anything in the reality category I'd send it to Getty or Istock before Alamy.

Again, you don't see sales down everywhere. I've seen posts here saying things seem to be slowing down, or inconsistent, at most sites.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 18, 2010, 08:26
Paulie, I started late at Alamy, so I have only about half as many images there as on the leading micros. Apples to apples it would probably be in third place behind Shutterstock. I'd probably do better if I was more UK oriented.

Your figures fit pretty well with me, I manage about $5 per year per pic from micros and $1  from Alamy. But I am using half-a-dozen micros to get that $5 and only one Alamy. IS and SS both kick Alamy's butt, Fotolia and DT are sparring with it and the others are well behind.

Sean .... it's more like $1 per file per year, not 10c. At least, for a reasonably competent stock shooter.

You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 18, 2010, 08:37

Again, you don't see sales down everywhere. I've seen posts here saying things seem to be slowing down, or inconsistent, at most sites.

I can only report what my stats tell me. I am among the bigger fish but I may not be typical. It's hard to know.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 18, 2010, 08:41
Sean .... it's more like $1 per file per year, not 10c. At least, for a reasonably competent stock shooter.

You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.

Most in the forums are probably not competent stock shooters.

I do know that.  That is why there are a small few that make money, and the rest don't.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: michealo on August 18, 2010, 09:18
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Very true! We have heard buyers moaning about this for years, I tried it once or twice and it wasn't terribly successful. Buyers still seem to buy shiny happy models ???

Yeah it's liking salad at McDonalds, everyone says they want them but they don't actually.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 18, 2010, 17:48
You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.

The difference is like Sean said. I haven't seen anybody post they're making a living solely from Alamy.

You seem happy with it so that's what counts.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: alias on August 18, 2010, 18:08
Those 'real people' shots which Lagereek was writing of are always very stylishly done and often with an indie feel. This sort of work is well represented at IS. Definitely more than at many places. IS has always had a sort of indie side.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: RacePhoto on August 19, 2010, 00:59
You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.

The difference is like Sean said. I haven't seen anybody post they're making a living solely from Alamy.

You seem happy with it so that's what counts.

I think we went through this a year or two ago. They are different places, different images, different markets, different people, different earnings per image. But in the end, after doing the numbers research, the top 10% of Alamy photographers, make about the same as the top 10% of Microstock image producers.

The 10c per image, per month that most people actually make on Micro across five agencies, (on average) is about the same as one image on Alamy selling for the same amount, per year. But it isn't about income per image, it's bottom line. That's where Micro and Alamy meet. The bottom line income.

I haven't seen any change at Alamy with the new licensing, new collection (which I'm not part of) or any of the USA office additions. I have to admit that US photos in the UK and European market isn't a great marketing concept.  :)

It appears that the people who shoot locally are getting the majority of the sales at this point. Girl with a headset is not best seller on Alamy, neither is smiling business people or sliced tomatoes. It's important to remember that not only are the agencies, locations and commissions different, the buyers are far different with their demands and usage. I still think Alamy is heavy in the news and publishing market.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 19, 2010, 02:36
You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.

The difference is like Sean said. I haven't seen anybody post they're making a living solely from Alamy.

You seem happy with it so that's what counts.

It adds a bit to my monthly total and it fits with my strategy of diversifying my income sources. If Alamy isn't worth my effort, then 123, Bigstock and Canstock aren't either - and chopping all those off would cut my income by at least 15% each month. That's how I look at it.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 19, 2010, 05:36
You of all people know that there are some who make a lot from each file and a lot who make virtually nothing - and that is as true of iStock as it is of Alamy.

The difference is like Sean said. I haven't seen anybody post they're making a living solely from Alamy.

You seem happy with it so that's what counts.

It adds a bit to my monthly total and it fits with my strategy of diversifying my income sources. If Alamy isn't worth my effort, then 123, Bigstock and Canstock aren't either - and chopping all those off would cut my income by at least 15% each month. That's how I look at it.

Today there are very few getting a really healthy income from stock alone, I know this,  many in RM, RF or micro are ofcourse ticking over but nothing spectacular. Back in the Trad Agency days there were over 5000 photographers making a real good living and they were mainly with Image-Bank and Stones-Worldwide. In them days stock-shooting was reserved only for the Professional and there was ofcourse very little competition.
Today there are a few guys from the old school and within the maincore of the Getty-RM, from the very start, they are big established names and well known advertising photographers, some of these fellas are earning well past a six-figured amount per year from stock only,  mind theyve bit at it for about 30 years.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 19, 2010, 09:30
622 images online.  Only 2 sales yesterday.  And no sales in over 24 hours. 
 :-[
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 20, 2010, 09:55
622 images online.  Only 2 sales yesterday.  And no sales in over 24 hours. 
 :-[

Something must be wrong??  cant be that down,  not even on a lousy day?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 20, 2010, 10:27
There's an exclusive contributor about 100 DLs shy of Gold who I know, who mentioned they have had several 0 DL weekdays since the first week of July.  If that doesn't take away your will to upload, I don't know what will.  I keep sending in more images with the hope that things will improve markedly within the next 60 days.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 20, 2010, 11:20
There's an exclusive contributor about 100 DLs shy of Gold who I know, who mentioned they have had several 0 DL weekdays since the first week of July.  If that doesn't take away your will to upload, I don't know what will.  I keep sending in more images with the hope that things will improve markedly within the next 60 days.

This is worrying!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: sharpshot on August 20, 2010, 11:36
There's an exclusive contributor about 100 DLs shy of Gold who I know, who mentioned they have had several 0 DL weekdays since the first week of July.  If that doesn't take away your will to upload, I don't know what will.  I keep sending in more images with the hope that things will improve markedly within the next 60 days.
That's one of the reasons why I just couldn't go exclusive.  Must be depressing having all your earnings from one site and not selling anything.  Istock is very slow for me this week, today is like a weekend day but the other sites have picked up and August is looking OK now.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 20, 2010, 12:43
Is the consensus (such as it is) that istock should probably tweak their prices and/or best match algorithm to get rid of this recent and unwanted perception among buyers that they are a high-cost source of photos, and/or that their bargains are hard to find because they are buried under higher priced items on the store shelves? (as it were)

I would think that IS would be extremely sensitive to negative changes in revenue, they sell directly after all and they should know up to the minute if say, sales are down for a Monday in the second week of August compared to previous years.  If there is a problem, and they're either not aware of it or they're not moving yet to correct it, then I hope that their management will take prompt steps to overcome this organizational inertia.

I've noticed from working in large companies that once they reach a certain size, the individuals in the company lose true customer awareness and end up being mostly loyal to internal organizations - the accountants do what's best for the finance department, the QA people become obsessed with self-generated "standards" whether they make sense or not, and so on.  Istock is nowhere near that size, so maybe it's just a case of one or two key managers being on summer vacation and letting things slide a bit.

DISCLAIMER - all of this speculation could be horsefeathers.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: thesentinel on August 20, 2010, 13:20
^ Just pointing out that their income is derived from sales of credit packages and to some extent daily fluctuations in our licence sales may be not as relevant. Obviously longer term trends would be similar for both parties, and best match is a very powerful credit use shaping tool which I bet they will be monitoring very deeply.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 20, 2010, 13:31
There is a danger when a big organisation makes a mistake that it becomes too embarrassing to admit to it, so it plows on regardless for a while.

Another danger is that if a customer loses confidence in your shop, tries another one and is happy there, then it may be a long time before the customer even bothers to glance through your window again. It is very difficult to win loyal customers back again after they desert you, because they are inclined to feel that you have betrayed them rather than that they deserted you.

Istock's "wow, we're the greatest" propaganda may also not stand it in good stead if people who have swallowed that line go elsewhere and find the same quality available for less. (No, no - not possible, I know. Istock's brilliance is beyond compare).

This is probably just crap, of course. I expect I am the only one heading for the worst month in a couple of years.
 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 20, 2010, 13:37
^ Just pointing out that their income is derived from sales of credit packages and to some extent daily fluctuations in our licence sales may be not as relevant. Obviously longer term trends would be similar for both parties,

Which is why the true effect of a price change in January will not become apparent until late spring/early summer, at the earliest. Come to think of it, one worrying consequence of that is that buyers shocked by a January move may make firm decisions in February that are not apparent till June. By which time, the customer's decision would be firmly established. Depressing. Or maybe it's the booze talking. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 20, 2010, 13:39
^ Just pointing out that their income is derived from sales of credit packages and to some extent daily fluctuations in our licence sales may be not as relevant. Obviously longer term trends would be similar for both parties, and best match is a very powerful credit use shaping tool which I bet they will be monitoring very deeply.

This is true but I'm sure they, like us, keep a very close eye on downloads especially after a site revamp or price hike.

Also, whenever Klein or any of the big-wigs start talking turkey, they always tend to refer to numbers of licenses sold rather than credit packages. Here's a typical Klein quote from earlier this year on PaidContent.org;

Klein noted. ďAlso, this is not an exaggeration: iStock sells a licensed user-gen image every second of every day."
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: rubyroo on August 20, 2010, 15:35
I'm hoping it's just a bad Summer dream that we'll all wake up from soon.

Maybe a lot of stressed out designers are taking extended breaks, or switching off their work minds more completely this year.

Only time will tell... I'm going to wait and see how things go from September through to December before getting too worried about this.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 20, 2010, 16:07
That's one of the reasons why I just couldn't go exclusive.  Must be depressing having all your earnings from one site and not selling anything.  Istock is very slow for me this week, today is like a weekend day but the other sites have picked up and August is looking OK now.

Yeah, I'm ready to throw in the towel.  I had big plans at the start of the summer.  I was going to shoot enough to upload no fewer than 5 images per day, with the intent of doubling my income by Spring.  Based on my past earnings per accepted image, it seemed pretty easy.

So the last month I've had over 100 images accepted, and I think 4 of them have sales while the other ~100 or so languish.  In the meantime my previous best sellers have tanked, and now I'm thinking that if I followed through on my plans, at best I might add 10% or so to my earnings once I rebuilt it to previous levels.

Today is the first time where I hit the wall and said, "This is a waste of time and effort."  Why should I brainstorm another series of shots, process and keyword them, and then watch nothing happen?  My best selling image is 16 months old, and my second best is almost 4 years old.  Those two are going to carry what little sales I get no matter what I do or don't upload.  So should I spend time with the family and go out and get ice cream on a nice evening, or should I try to put together another pointless shoot?  Not a hard decision anymore.

So after a month of hard work generated absolutely nothing in returns, I'm not going to keep shooting/uploading.  I'll give it until Fall.  If things pick up, I'll get active again.  If they don't, I'll go independent and cut my losses.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Blufish on August 20, 2010, 16:13
That's one of the reasons why I just couldn't go exclusive.  Must be depressing having all your earnings from one site and not selling anything.  Istock is very slow for me this week, today is like a weekend day but the other sites have picked up and August is looking OK now.

Yeah, I'm ready to throw in the towel.  I had big plans at the start of the summer.  I was going to shoot enough to upload no fewer than 5 images per day, with the intent of doubling my income by Spring.  Based on my past earnings per accepted image, it seemed pretty easy.

So the last month I've had over 100 images accepted, and I think 4 of them have sales while the other ~100 or so languish.  In the meantime my previous best sellers have tanked, and now I'm thinking that if I followed through on my plans, at best I might add 10% or so to my earnings once I rebuilt it to previous levels.

Today is the first time where I hit the wall and said, "This is a waste of time and effort."  So after a month of hard work generated absolutely nothing in returns, I'm not going to keep shooting/uploading.  I'll give it until Fall.  If things pick up, I'll get active again.  If they don't, I'll go independent and cut my losses.

That just plain sucks. I wish you luck and keep posting your progress.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 20, 2010, 17:45
Yeah, I'm ready to throw in the towel.  

I have these moments too. Especially the family part. This takes a lot of time away from my family. 

I signed up for a Lookstat account a couple days ago and it gave an absolutely clear snapshot of my progress which I really haven't been tracking much.

Since July of 08 I have tripled my portfolio (which is still small at around 500 images), and my revenue has gone up sigificantly, but my download count is literally the same. If it wasn't for stuff like going exclusive, the price increases, and E+ my income would have been flat for two years despite tripling my portfolio.

It's probably caused by a combination of a lot of things but regardless the end result is a bit of a concern. Without more price increases can I grow revenue?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 21, 2010, 00:45
I think maybe youre looking too deap into it?  Im a Diamond member at IS,  Ive got three friends/collegues here in Sweden, one is also a Diamond, the other two Gold, we are all four non-exclusives and ALL of us have taken about a 40% slump! I know six British photographers, all Diamonds and Gold, all Exclusives and all of them are also down 40-50%.
Its got nothing to do with Excl or non-excl. The micro market has just gone sour, period! and its not just an August holliday blues. Its reallity.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 21, 2010, 01:53
I think maybe youre looking too deap into it?  Im a Diamond member at IS,  Ive got three friends/collegues here in Sweden, one is also a Diamond, the other two Gold, we are all four non-exclusives and ALL of us have taken about a 40% slump! I know six British photographers, all Diamonds and Gold, all Exclusives and all of them are also down 40-50%.
Its got nothing to do with Excl or non-excl. The micro market has just gone sour, period! and its not just an August holliday blues. Its reallity.

A 40% slump over what timescale? Are you making allowances for the normal summer slowdown? Has a major new player moved into niches that you have been supplying?

It makes no sense to me that a huge industry would collapse overnight without anything happening to cause that. I can see that an iStock problem plus the summer slowdown would make for some really bad figures, so as there is generally agreed to be an iStock problem, you need to take iStock and Alamy out of the equation and compare sales at the rest of the sites over the past couple of months with the same months last year (too early to include August unfortunately). If I do that, my total for June-July 2010 is about 4% below my total for 2009 (if I keep Alamy in the equation, I am about 4% up this year on last).  But then my June-July istock total is slightly higher than last year's too.

Of course, June is well down on last october-november, but that is comparing apples and pears.

Did any of the non-exclusives who have seen sales fall overall stop supplying their agencies from January on, in order to grab the juicy exclusivity carrot iS was dangling with its new pricing? It is funny that only seven months ago all the talk was about preparing for that and avoiding having images trapped on other sites.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: hoi ha on August 21, 2010, 02:12
I think maybe youre looking too deap into it?  Im a Diamond member at IS,  Ive got three friends/collegues here in Sweden, one is also a Diamond, the other two Gold, we are all four non-exclusives and ALL of us have taken about a 40% slump! I know six British photographers, all Diamonds and Gold, all Exclusives and all of them are also down 40-50%.
Its got nothing to do with Excl or non-excl. The micro market has just gone sour, period! and its not just an August holliday blues. Its reallity.

I think Lagercreek is correct here to a large extent - and I don't think it was all of a sudden either - it's been gradual and it's I believe a confluence of events. Once the professional shooters entered the micro market, the "hobbyist" either had to resign themselves to making pocket money or they had to up their game. But the pros with good portfolios swamped the market for buyers and continue to do so. Istock without any question has the best images on line of all the micros - some of the work available there is truly great stuff. But, for many buyers in a tight financial market, they will turn to cheaper alternatives and the truth is that the cheaper alternatives are pretty good too - certainly good enough. I just downloaded several images using "corporate strategy" as a keyword. I looked at istock and thought to myself - wow, some great stuff I would love to get those images - but I cannot afford it - so i got the second best at dreamstime. And that was good enough for what I am doing. And it will be good enough for what most buyers are doing. The law of supply and demand says that if supply grows, prices will fall. This applies to micro - the supply of images is massive - almost too big in some ways. The only way the micro market will recover is if there is less supply. And I don't see that happening any time soon unless there is major consolidation of ownership which in turn can control the supply and pricing. Maybe Getty has some sort of strategy along those lines - they are smart business people. But who knows? 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 21, 2010, 02:51
Hi!
Well Im a professional myself, joined Getty way back in 93. I wouldnt say the Pros saturated the micro-market, I mean look at some of the crap being accepted today!! taken by weekend snappers, reviewers STILL only look for noise and artefacts, consequently anything can get past.

No, this is a build-up over years, a build-up of constant problems, too many contributors, search-engine problems, site-problems, constant price-rising and during a finance-depression, spamming, keywording and all agencies are going through the same!
Just look at this summer, we had summer reviewers who litteraly should be behind a MacDonald counter.

So what happens after some years. Buyers gets pissed-off and call it a day, cant stomach it anylonger. As I said before, a creative industry concept get its 10 years of glory, then it settles down, slumps and will remain there. Nothing unusual about that?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 21, 2010, 04:27
The buyers get pissed off and can't stomach it ..... and then do what, exactly? Shut up shop and apply for unemployment hand-outs? Just because they are pissed off?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: hoi ha on August 21, 2010, 04:33
Hi!
Well Im a professional myself, joined Getty way back in 93. I wouldnt say the Pros saturated the micro-market, I mean look at some of the crap being accepted today!!

Agreed there's a lot of crap and that's what I mean when I said there was "too much" available sometimes and we have to really slog past crappy images sometimes to find the gems. But having said that, I read the boards, here especially, and everyone is saying how much they have to "feed the beast" with many of the pro submitters having thousands and thousands and thousand of images in their ports. I think most of the top contributors who do this as a living feel compelled to produce an awful lot of images to maintain their incomes - it's like a vicious cycle in a way - they have to keep producing more and more but by so many of them doing just that it ends up flooding the market. I don't really know what the answer is to that though - it must be terribly frustrating. And now contributors are saying their newer images struggle to get views never mind downloads.

I think the review processes really need to change - I think they need to get past focusing so much on the the technical issues with images and start looking at the subject matter and the content of images, encouraging real creativity and strong concepts instead of the endless 20 year olds dressed up in someone elses' clothes pretending to be successful executives - on isolated white backgrounds!!  
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 21, 2010, 05:05
The buyers get pissed off and can't stomach it ..... and then do what, exactly? Shut up shop and apply for unemployment hand-outs? Just because they are pissed off?

Now youre being cynical ;D, ofcourse not BUT!  they will try and go elsewhere, where they can shop cheaper and without hassle. Human nature. FT has gained lots and lots of buyers, ask yourself why?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 21, 2010, 08:56
The buyers get pissed off and can't stomach it ..... and then do what, exactly? Shut up shop and apply for unemployment hand-outs? Just because they are pissed off?

Now youre being cynical ;D, ofcourse not BUT!  they will try and go elsewhere, where they can shop cheaper and without hassle. Human nature. FT has gained lots and lots of buyers, ask yourself why?

Cynical? I'm shocked! :o

But I thought you were talking about the whole industry. Not just about iS.  Sure, if one shop doesn't offer the service you are looking for, you check out alternatives.

How long ago did Bruce pack his bags? Maybe iStock/Getty is missing his vision of how it works. It's hard to imagine TS and the redirection of customers happening on his watch. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 21, 2010, 09:28
I think most of the top contributors who do this as a living feel compelled to produce an awful lot of images to maintain their incomes - it's like a vicious cycle in a way - they have to keep producing more and more but by so many of them doing just that it ends up flooding the market. I don't really know what the answer is to that though - it must be terribly frustrating. And now contributors are saying their newer images struggle to get views never mind downloads.

I think the review processes really need to change - I think they need to get past focusing so much on the the technical issues with images and start looking at the subject matter and the content of images, encouraging real creativity and strong concepts instead of the endless 20 year olds dressed up in someone elses' clothes pretending to be successful executives - on isolated white backgrounds!!  

I'm not producing more and more right now.  I think I'm doing about the same output I've always been.  It's true new images aren't getting the views and sales immediately like they used to - check my port by uploads to see many many zeros.

There is a thread in the request forum looking for simple uncropped images of people, so there is still a desire for fresh product.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 21, 2010, 10:55
It's true new images aren't getting the views and sales immediately like they used to - check my port by uploads to see many many zeros.

Not just you.  I see a ton of Diamond+ ports in the same predicament.  The question is...do they eventually catch on several weeks/months down the road?  Or are they finished before they got started?  And that's what I'm struggling with.  The Return on (Time) Investment.  Hoping new images will eventually catch on by some unexplained delayed best match response requires me to put a lot of blind faith in the system.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 21, 2010, 10:57
I still have 30-40 images to upload from several already produced series.  I'll stagger upload those, then watch and wait I suppose.  I can't bring myself to keep shooting daily though until there is some perceived return.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 21, 2010, 11:00
The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: malcam on August 21, 2010, 11:13
The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: gostwyck on August 21, 2010, 11:42
Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.

It's not just that, even in niche subjects (say when all images are on one page) the new images are largely ignored. Buyers don't seem to trust their own judgement and appear to mostly buy images that have been chosen by many others before them. It may be that they don't even consider the age of the image, simply assuming that if it has no sales then it can't be as good as those that have.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 21, 2010, 11:54
The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.

No, no, thats not enough, thats by a scrolling choice, two separate searches as default. Think about it, how many buyers do you think use the "search-within" correctly, well I can tell you, I know some buyers here in Sweden, they havent got a clue or cant be bothered so instead they type in phrases which the CV doesnt even recognize.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: ShadySue on August 21, 2010, 13:18
The only possible concievable way of showing new images alongside old bona-fide sellers is to make two separate searches.

Buyers just need to sort by age, the problem is that they don't seem to.
Since F5, I've found it very difficult to change my search order: it requires a degree of persistence.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 21, 2010, 18:21

I have these moments too. Especially the family part. This takes a lot of time away from my family. 

I signed up for a Lookstat account a couple days ago and it gave an absolutely clear snapshot of my progress which I really haven't been tracking much.

Since July of 08 I have tripled my portfolio (which is still small at around 500 images), and my revenue has gone up sigificantly, but my download count is literally the same. If it wasn't for stuff like going exclusive, the price increases, and E+ my income would have been flat for two years despite tripling my portfolio.

It's probably caused by a combination of a lot of things but regardless the end result is a bit of a concern. Without more price increases can I grow revenue?


As always you make a lot of good points.  Especially for a gangsta.

I went back and looked at my earnings at various sites prior to going exclusive, and it was a nice wake up call.  I can't see myself removing my iStock crown even if this downturn lingers into the fall.  As much as I enjoyed SS, my previous earnings there don't justify giving up the crown.

It still doesn't change the frustration that nothing new seems to ever catch on, and I know that the files which caught on for me in 2009 and late 2008 are not any better than what I've done in 2010.   So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 21, 2010, 19:06
 So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)

I feel exactly the same Dan.  This phenomenon of producing more and earning less really is seen on all sites to one degree or another.  Perhaps we are seeing it more pronounced on istock because their volume is/was largest fore most of us. 

In other words I am not sure giving up the crown would make any difference.  Probably even result in a drop of income. 

I can't seem to find any motivation at all lately either.  Usually I try to shoot several concepts every month, but I haven't managed to shoot one single thing for August.  Can't even get inspired to plan a shoot.

I think most of the top contributors who do this as a living feel compelled to produce an awful lot of images to maintain their incomes - it's like a vicious cycle in a way - they have to keep producing more and more but by so many of them doing just that it ends up flooding the market.


I agree with the above statement, if you are talking about the factories.  As Sean pointed out, if you are an individual producer, regardless of rank, you can only produce so many good images per month, and that's it.  I have been producing at pretty much the same rate for years - roughly 100-150 images/month. 

However when I look for my own images in searches, they are now lost in the flood of many thousands of cookie-cutter, virtually indistinguishable images from the factories.  I can forsee a time when perhaps just a couple of factories will have pretty much divided the market between them and the rest of us will just be scampering around looking for scraps.  (hope I am wrong)

What frustrates me is when I go on the content request forums and see buyers asking for EXACTLY the images I have already produced.  They have searched and can't find them because they are lost in the shuffle.  I know it's not just me experiencing this.  I am sure all the threads about downed sales are because others images just aren't being found by buyers either. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 21, 2010, 19:13
Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 21, 2010, 19:16

I agree with the above statement, if you are talking about the factories.  As Sean pointed out, if you are an individual producer, regardless of rank, you can only produce so many good images per month, and that's it.  I have been producing at pretty much the same rate for years - roughly 100-150 images/month. 

However when I look for my own images in searches, they are now lost in the flood of many thousands of cookie-cutter, virtually indistinguishable images from the factories.  I can forsee a time when perhaps just a couple of factories will have pretty much divided the market between them and the rest of us will just be scampering around looking for scraps.  (hope I am wrong)

What frustrates me is when I go on the content request forums and see buyers asking for EXACTLY the images I have already produced.  They have searched and can't find them because they are lost in the shuffle.  I know it's not just me experiencing this.  I am sure all the threads about downed sales are because others images just aren't being found by buyers either. 

Wow, you complaining and you are top seller . I don't know what to say for little people like I and other who is new insertion.
If your work is bury in the shuffle for your 100-150 image por month, how we with many less to survive in microstock?
Also, if they cannot find you,a nd you are one of big sellers, you think maybe there is in fact conspiracy
of favoritism ? I know again conspiraction factor, but in reality how you feel?
Must be have an evidential there is one specie for favorite seller and other specie you and everybody
buried in flood.  Hope my explanation make sense. Thankyou.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: ShadySue on August 21, 2010, 19:22
Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Sarching with Firefox has been working fine all day, AFAIK, but I realise that IE has the lion's share of users. Accordng to DeepMeta, I had an extraordinary number of files viewed overnight and again today, for only one dollar bin download!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 21, 2010, 19:30

Wow, you complaining and you are top seller . I don't know what to say for little people like I and other who is new insertion.
If your work is bury in the shuffle for your 100-150 image por month, how we with many less to survive in microstock?
Also, if they cannot find you,a nd you are one of big sellers, you think maybe there is in fact conspiracy
of favoritism ? I know again conspiraction factor, but in reality how you feel?
Must be have an evidential there is one specie for favorite seller and other specie you and everybody
buried in flood.  Hope my explanation make sense. Thankyou.

Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills. 

I understand what you are saying, but I really don't feel like there is any conspiracy to prevent people seeing my images.  I have decent search placement on some sites, for which I am very thankful.  It's just that as a one-person-show I simply can't compete with the massive volume of factories that have multiple shooters, image editors, uploaders, and countless other support staff.  They can churn out a thousand or so high-quality images in the same period of time I can make 100.  So whose are more likely to get seen and bought - my 100 or their 1,000? 

It isn't a conspiracy, just a numbers game.  And it is frustrating. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 21, 2010, 19:32
You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.

Just in case you haven't noticed, the search is not working at all late this afternoon and evening (Saturday). I wasn't online earlier. If you search for anything now, you get "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage".
Sarching with Firefox has been working fine all day, AFAIK, but I realise that IE has the lion's share of users. Accordng to DeepMeta, I had an extraordinary number of files viewed overnight and again today, for only one dollar bin download!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 21, 2010, 19:36
Lisa,

I look at the factory ports too.  Not because I need ideas, because I cannot produce what they produce.  Heck I very rarely do people shots to begin with.  But I wanted confirmation that new files struggle mightily.  I see the same thing with many of the mega factory ports.  Their best sellers continue to be images from 1-6 years ago, while they have pages and pages of new uploads with no downloads, or 1-2 downloads.  Yet many have a lot of views!

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that buyers tend to buy whatever has a ton of DLs, and avoid anything with 0 or few DLs.  I think there is something to that.  Several studies have confirmed that in the retail sector, consumers will scoff at an item they perceive as under-priced because they fear there must be something wrong with it.  Yet if you double or triple the price, they will purchase it.  Dan Heller found the same perception exists among buyers in the photo stock industry.

That might explain why so many contributors mention their new images get a ton of views but no DLs, and then the images disappear into the search engine's black hole.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 21, 2010, 19:43
Lisa,

I look at the factory ports too.  Not because I need ideas, because I cannot produce what they produce.  Heck I very rarely do people shots to begin with.  But I wanted confirmation that new files struggle mightily.  I see the same thing with many of the mega factory ports.  Their best sellers continue to be images from 1-6 years ago, while they have pages and pages of new uploads with no downloads, are 1-2 downloads.  Yet many have a lot of views!

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that buyers tend to buy whatever has a ton of DLs, and avoid anything with 0 or few DLs.  I think there is something to that.  Several studies have confirmed that in the retail sector, consumers will scoff at an item they perceive as under-priced because they fear there must be something wrong with it.  Yet if you double or triple the price, they will purchase it.  Dan Heller found the same perception exists among buyers in the photo stock industry.

That might explain why so many contributors mention their new images get a ton of views but no DLs, and then the images disappear into the search engine's black hole.

So again the dilemma . Lisa said it's the volume. But one more factor, the bias to buyers to select pictures with biggest download number. So Shutterstock and other agencies who prefess not to show download number to prevent bias influence on buyers justification.
Buyers not as independent as we all think. Ironic, you think a buyer will prefer to use a unique picture , not one that is already used by 1000 other people.
It is a strange business for sure this microstock. Uniqueness and quality of image are no the criteria for success
but the number and the influence of other people. So again the groupie mentality.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: KB on August 21, 2010, 19:49
You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 21, 2010, 19:55
Both are working now. Did anyone get normal DLs this afternoon and evening?

You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 21, 2010, 19:58
Just a theory Lefty, but there are many studies in various fields which show the same thing.  Buying the image with a long track record of success which has been used by various other companies may be considered "safe" to the person required to make stock photo purchases for his/her company.  The old adage in the financial world is "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."  Even if a money manager knows there are a hundred better investments, she knows IBM is in almost every large cap fund in the US, and she can't possibly be blamed if IBM goes belly up.  Safety in Numbers.

It could be as simple a thing as the "average microstock purchaser" uses the Default Search options when looking for something interesting to buy.  Then said purchaser quickly scans the page and notices a few images with 100+ or 5000+ downloads, which also stand out like a sore thumb on iStock because they have flames on them.  Of course 99.9% of these images are excellent images, which is why they sold so many times to begin with.  So purchasing them becomes a no-brainer.

You won't find too many contributors who want their DL numbers shown.  Really there is no reason to show them.  They don't show them in the macro world.  Shutterstock doesn't show them in the microstock world.  I think it would be a great first step to eliminate the DL numbers from everyone's view but the author of the image.  Given how many times this has been suggested, I don't figure it will happen.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 21, 2010, 23:28
As always you make a lot of good points.  Especially for a gangsta.I went back and looked at my earnings at various sites prior to going exclusive, and it was a nice wake up call.  I can't see myself removing my iStock crown even if this downturn lingers into the fall.  As much as I enjoyed SS, my previous earnings there don't justify giving up the crown.It still doesn't change the frustration that nothing new seems to ever catch on, and I know that the files which caught on for me in 2009 and late 2008 are not any better than what I've done in 2010.   So I stand by what I said...that until I see some measurable return on time invested I can't see much point in working to produce new material.  I'm more than happy to collect monthly earnings on past work however.   8)

A gangsta. Wow, I'm movin up in the world.  :)

My new stuff is selling. But not at a pace that's keeping up with the dropoff in existing stuff that used to sell. Which is probably why my downloads are flat.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 22, 2010, 00:22
Did the sales slump (more) around the time of the web interface changeover?  I don't do a lot of searching on there, but I was checking for certain categories/combinations to see how saturated they were and I noticed that several times the search was broken.  It would say something like, "Your search returned 53 images" but underneath that, where the thumbnails should be, it was blank.

I also noticed irritating problems when I tried to change or adjust the search parameters, such as add/remove a keyword or change the sort criteria from "Age" to "Downloads".  Sometimes it wouldn't respond - or it would appear to respond but it would then show me the identical images in the identical order, or it would do something else strange and unexpected.  I'm an uploader and not a buyer so I would just say, "*&#$#" and go do something else ... but I wonder how many actual buyers have run into this and then gone off to another web site.

If the search interface doesn't respond well to tweaking the parameters and refreshing, then maybe this is a reason why so many buyers simply grab one of the first images that is presented to them by the best match.  Maybe they found that trying to fine-tune or change the order of the original results is FFFFed up, like I have found since the switchover, so they just grab anything which is (a) popular and (b) in their price range.  If the best match is showing them expensive images first, that could make them give up entirely and go elsewhere.

Maybe we should have a poll: I experienced an unusual slump this summer ...

only at IS
only at non-IS sites
at IS and elsewhere
no unusual slump this summer

And if a summer slump was experienced, my slump began in:

May
June
July
August
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 22, 2010, 01:18
When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Oddly, there were better searches in the old Trad-agencies Transparancy files working with a bloody old typewriter and an 19 centuary old computer.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 22, 2010, 02:20
Oddly, there were better searches in the old Trad-agencies Transparancy files working with a bloody old typewriter and an 19 centuary old computer.

I don't think it's odd. In-house keywording and presumably much smaller collections, with tens or hundreds of thousands of photos, rather than millions. But buyer expectations were probably much lower, too. I wonder if they got offered a choice of 100 slides to pick from on a given topic, rather then thousands, and had to make do with the closest match. I wasn't involved then so I can only guess how it worked. I know agencies sent out printed catalogues - were they the new files for that year? - can you imagine how big the catalogue for just one month would be at any of the agencies now. The printing costs would be absurd.

Maybe it's worth remembering that back in the 1970s and 1980s about 99% of advertisers thought it was marvellous if you could dig out an Adverkit line drawing of a Champagne glass with bubbles to drop into their black and white adverts. Only a handful of major companies were dealing with colour adverts and photographs.


****
Both are working now. Did anyone get normal DLs this afternoon and evening?

You are right. I just searched FF and it worked.
I just tried searching IE and it worked fine, too (other than all the images looking VERY different from how they appear in FF!).

I had no sales at all until late in the day, then half-a-dozen turned up in a rush.

******
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 22, 2010, 02:36
Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills.  

I've always regarded this as an uncertain job, so I look to develop other markets and other revenue streams alongside it. With photos I'm aiming to move into gallery sales and with money I've scraped together in other ways (I'm quite a distance below your level) I'm buying a rental property. Out of the combined incomes I look to save as much as possible to reinvest. Hopefully, by the time stock dies the more long-term earnings that it is allowing me to create will easily substitute for it.

I assume that someone where you are, who is cautious enough not to put "all your eggs in one basket", will also be insuring herself against future earnings uncertainty.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 22, 2010, 11:46
Right.  I funnel a large portion of my earnings into a combination of stocks and Treasury Inflation Protected securities.  So over time, the money grows even if microstock completely fails. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Freedom on August 22, 2010, 12:36
Come on, Lisa is not the sole bread earner in the house. She has a husband, too.

Maybe one of the reasons I complain is because I really do rely on Microstock to pay my bills.  

I've always regarded this as an uncertain job, so I look to develop other markets and other revenue streams alongside it. With photos I'm aiming to move into gallery sales and with money I've scraped together in other ways (I'm quite a distance below your level) I'm buying a rental property. Out of the combined incomes I look to save as much as possible to reinvest. Hopefully, by the time stock dies the more long-term earnings that it is allowing me to create will easily substitute for it.

I assume that someone where you are, who is cautious enough not to put "all your eggs in one basket", will also be insuring herself against future earnings uncertainty.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 22, 2010, 12:55
When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Yap, I did some math begin of 2006 when sites were far below 1 million. With a linear set of of 40 keywords, any search engine will break down. It's pure math. I predicted sites would anticipate with a weighed keyword system, which would extend the relevancy algorithm till 10 or 50M items. As it turned out, the sites didn't change their concept at all. Just CanStockPhoto's Duncan tried it in 2007 and he was scorned away. What they do now is patching and patching with D/L, views, best match, but they've lost it.
Quote
Search algorithm breakdown

Now imagine this: the linear isolated keyword search won't be around that much longer. No doubt image agencies will follow along the Fotolia path sooner or later. With the advent of 1,000,000+ images and hundreds or thousands of similarly tagged images returned on a search quest, search algorithms based upon linear equal-weighted keywords are mathematically bound to break down.

Therefore, it would be wise if a photographer started to tag in order of relevance already now, as an investment in his adaptation to future search algorithm strategies of agency sites. It would be a tantalizing job to re-tag a large portfolio, but new images can as well be tagged this way.

This (http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78:keywordstrategy&catid=46:forphotographers&Itemid=94) was written in 2006, when DT had 300,000 images...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: FD on August 22, 2010, 13:15
Right.  I funnel a large portion of my earnings into a combination of stocks and Treasury Inflation Protected securities.
Hmm... I really hate to sound perhaps obnoxious and it's not my intent to hurt, but when I compare your d/l on IS with mine (3200/1900) you won't probably be able to retire from your bonds. Let's assume you make 3x more as an exclusive than me, it won't do much if you count the depreciation of your gear (photo, PC, backup, software) and your internet.

Even if I earn about 4-6 times more on SS than on IS, I have to admit my microstock venture was a net loss, counting 3 cams, light, backups, props and model fees. When even Alamy reverted to 24c sales for hours of silly uploading, I think more and more submitters will disappear when they finally dared to do some proper accountancy. I didn't touch my cam in 2 months. The very relaxed upload limits on IS and DT are an omen.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 22, 2010, 14:20
When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Yap, I did some math begin of 2006 when sites were far below 1 million. With a linear set of of 40 keywords, any search engine will break down. It's pure math. I predicted sites would anticipate with a weighed keyword system, which would extend the relevancy algorithm till 10 or 50M items. As it turned out, the sites didn't change their concept at all. Just CanStockPhoto's Duncan tried it in 2007 and he was scorned away. What they do now is patching and patching with D/L, views, best match, but they've lost it.
Quote
Search algorithm breakdown

Now imagine this: the linear isolated keyword search won't be around that much longer. No doubt image agencies will follow along the Fotolia path sooner or later. With the advent of 1,000,000+ images and hundreds or thousands of similarly tagged images returned on a search quest, search algorithms based upon linear equal-weighted keywords are mathematically bound to break down.

Therefore, it would be wise if a photographer started to tag in order of relevance already now, as an investment in his adaptation to future search algorithm strategies of agency sites. It would be a tantalizing job to re-tag a large portfolio, but new images can as well be tagged this way.

This ([url]http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78:keywordstrategy&catid=46:forphotographers&Itemid=94[/url]) was written in 2006, when DT had 300,000 images...


Very, very interesting indeed!  mind, it doesnt surprise me at all and you know its gone so far now, its so messed up that its a hopeless job, there isnt a remedy for it and impossible to patch up.
It surprises me that they couldnt see this coming, sooner or later?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 22, 2010, 14:20
When I said two search-engines, as default, it wasnt my idea, that was the idea of a friend of mine who is total computer wizard and who has been working with Adobe (Thomas Knoll) on a number of programs, i.e. one of the very best!

He explained: a search-engine is the making or breaking and in an industry which accepts thousands of applicants and millions of keywords all the time with one type of search and one CV. As the number of images, keywords grow the less effective the search, its an impossibility to maintain. Further, you cant build a CV and maintain an effective search based on generics.

Yap, I did some math begin of 2006 when sites were far below 1 million. With a linear set of of 40 keywords, any search engine will break down. It's pure math. I predicted sites would anticipate with a weighed keyword system, which would extend the relevancy algorithm till 10 or 50M items. As it turned out, the sites didn't change their concept at all. Just CanStockPhoto's Duncan tried it in 2007 and he was scorned away. What they do now is patching and patching with D/L, views, best match, but they've lost it.
Quote
Search algorithm breakdown

Now imagine this: the linear isolated keyword search won't be around that much longer. No doubt image agencies will follow along the Fotolia path sooner or later. With the advent of 1,000,000+ images and hundreds or thousands of similarly tagged images returned on a search quest, search algorithms based upon linear equal-weighted keywords are mathematically bound to break down.

Therefore, it would be wise if a photographer started to tag in order of relevance already now, as an investment in his adaptation to future search algorithm strategies of agency sites. It would be a tantalizing job to re-tag a large portfolio, but new images can as well be tagged this way.

This ([url]http://flemishdreams.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78:keywordstrategy&catid=46:forphotographers&Itemid=94[/url]) was written in 2006, when DT had 300,000 images...
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 22, 2010, 16:00

You won't find too many contributors who want their DL numbers shown.  Really there is no reason to show them.  They don't show them in the macro world.  Shutterstock doesn't show them in the microstock world.  I think it would be a great first step to eliminate the DL numbers from everyone's view but the author of the image.  Given how many times this has been suggested, I don't figure it will happen.

I completely agree Dan.  Eliminating the DL numbers would reduce or eliminate two problems - the self perpetuating best sellers (and difficulty selling new images) and also a lot of the copying of best sellers.  It would make it easier for both buyers and producers to think for themselves!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 22, 2010, 16:10
Come on, Lisa is not the sole bread earner in the house. She has a husband, too.


Absolutely true, however I am the larger earner at this point.  It is my earnings that are needed to send my daughter through college, and if I want to grow my business it will be my earnings that have to pay for a larger house with ample studio space.  Those things will not be possible if I can't find a way to increase, or at least stabilize my earnings. 

Baldrick, those are very good suggestions about ways to insure your income against future drops in the industry.  Up to now I have been focusing all my energies on stock.  The type of images I like to do don't lend themselves to gallery sales.  I guess I could go back to portraits and weddings, but I would consider that a last resort, since I don't like doing it. 

Real estate investment is a good idea.  With real estate cheap right now it would be a good time to invest in it. 

Stock market - forget it.  No interest in that whatsoever.  My husband and I are the only people I know - literally the only ones - who didn't lose a penny of savings over the past couple of years because it was all in CDs.  If I wanted to gamble I could have a lot more fun in Vegas anyway ;). 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 22, 2010, 16:20

Stock market - forget it.  No interest in that whatsoever.  My husband and I are the only people I know - literally the only ones - who didn't lose a penny of savings over the past couple of years because it was all in CDs.  If I wanted to gamble I could have a lot more fun in Vegas anyway ;). 

Ahhh...but you did lose savings.  Unless your CD's outpaced the 4-6% inflation we have all been swallowing to purchase groceries, or put gas in our tanks, or heat/cool our homes, then you indeed did lose money.  But according to the government, once you subtract out food and energy inflation is quite tame.  Too bad real people can't subtract out food and energy.   8)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 22, 2010, 16:29
But according to the government, once you subtract out food and energy inflation is quite tame.  Too bad real people can't subtract out food and energy.   8)

You mean you guys aren't all living on rainbows and lollipops?   ::)

Good point about inflation.  Nothing I can do about that one though. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 22, 2010, 16:43
Yes there is.  This is off topic, but look into Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPs).  They guarantee a return above the core inflation rate, pay a nice little divdend, and they are almost as safe as a CD.  You can get a low cost, diversified TIPs fund from Vanguard.  Many other large mutual fund companies have them.  They aren't very tax efficient, but for someone who wants to avoid the stock market, TIPs are about as good as it gets.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 22, 2010, 18:08
OT, yes, but maybe useful to a lot of people.  Thanks for the info!  I will check into it :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 22, 2010, 19:23
Yes there is.  This is off topic, but look into Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPs).  They guarantee a return above the core inflation rate, pay a nice little divdend, and they are almost as safe as a CD.  You can get a low cost, diversified TIPs fund from Vanguard.  Many other large mutual fund companies have them.  They aren't very tax efficient, but for someone who wants to avoid the stock market, TIPs are about as good as it gets.

Please remember, the official inflation figures from which the inflation "protection" is calculated are highly suspect.  They are discussed in detail at this website: http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/inflation-charts (http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/inflation-charts).  To make a long story short, governments have a very strong motivation to under-report the rate of inflation.  The less they have to pay out to widows and orphans (as it were) and for indexed pensions and other expenditures which are supposed to keep up with the rate of inflation, the more money they have for themselves and for their cronies.  Throughout history, inflation (whose technical definition is an increase in the money supply) has been a racket used by governments to swindle workers and savers and benefit the powerful and well-connected.  It was true in the ancient world and it is true right now in Europe, America, Japan and China.

To make a feeble effort to bend this to the topic at hand, this is probably the real reason behind the slump.  Inflation has eroded really profitable businesses and individuals' personal wealth and diverted real wealth into the hands of those with power.  When there is a less fizzy economy then businesses suffer, advertising agencies suffer, and the poor schleps who provide stock materials to those agencies suffer.  More and more wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the government (virtually nationalizing housing, mortgage and banking industries, manufacturing, oil industry, etc.) and they simply don't need a diversity of visual materials to advertise their "services".  You have no choice but to accept government "services" so they have no real need for a lot of exciting and artistic images to sell what they do.  Their sales pitch is a simple "Do as we say - OR ELSE."

Sorry to be a downer!  But IMHO your best chance to survive and prosper is to first understand what you're up against so you can formulate a plan to based on facts and not on fantasies.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: pet_chia on August 23, 2010, 10:47
Sorry for helping to derail this topic with extraneous chatter (see above).

I just wanted to say that right now, for the last week or so, at IS it seems like approval times (for non-exclusives), sales and even the # of views per day per image has become . . . r . e . a . l . . . s . l . o . w . . .

I don't fully understand the "Poll Results" on the right hand side of this web page, but I noticed that it's been almost entirely "red" (down arrows) lately.  Is this indicative of an across-the-board slowdown?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 23, 2010, 11:07

I don't fully understand the "Poll Results" on the right hand side of this web page, but I noticed that it's been almost entirely "red" (down arrows) lately.  Is this indicative of an across-the-board slowdown?

If the talk around here is to be believed there is certainly an across the board slowdown.  Where there seems to be some debate is the cause.  Could be summer slump, worldwide economic slowdown, market saturation/competition, or any combination of the above.  ???
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 23, 2010, 12:12
In a way, the slowdown has been going on for almost six years. That's the last time that I was getting $1 per upload per month and that was with just one agency. The growth in the market has not kept pace with the growth in supply. It is really remarkable that the market has continued to grow fast enough to deliver any worthwhile return at all to individuals.

From the agency perspective, of course, it is quite different. Instead of selling each of 100,000 images 6 times a month for $1.50, they are selling a tenth of ten million images per month, for - say - $10. So instead of making $500,000 they are making $10m, but the photographer with 1,000 images isn't making $1,000 any longer, he or she is making  one tenth of 1000 x 20% of $10 = $200.

We have no way of knowing if the advertising spend is continuing to rise or not, because the dilution effect of all those extra shots hides the state of the market from us. We need to hope for a point where the spending growth and the speed of growth of the collections becomes equal. Until that happens (if it ever does) then our returns will continue to fall.

From the photographer's point of view, the industry is a bubble: It has to inflate for ever if we are going to be able to keep our earnings flat for ever. Not a happy thought. But maybe at some point the earnings per file will fall so low that hardly anybody will continue uploading. That won't really hurt either the buyers or the agencies as the huge back-catalogue will keep both of them happy for a long time, as long as there is just a sprinkling of new stuff coming through.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 23, 2010, 15:00
I agree with your last assessment BT.  Markets tend to self correct.  I can see a lot of image producers becoming disillusioned soon and slowing down, or completely ceasing image production.  Personally I'm doing pretty well, but even so I have little to no desire to keep feeding images to my agency for ever diminishing returns.  I can't imagine how it feels for the noob who has an 80%+ rejection rate and just wants to reach his/her first payout sometime in the next few years.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: alias on August 23, 2010, 15:23
Very good assessment BD. You and FD should form a think tank together :)
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 23, 2010, 15:43
I agree with your last assessment BT.  Markets tend to self correct.  I can see a lot of image producers becoming disillusioned soon and slowing down, or completely ceasing image production.  Personally I'm doing pretty well, but even so I have little to no desire to keep feeding images to my agency for ever diminishing returns.  I can't imagine how it feels for the noob who has an 80%+ rejection rate and just wants to reach his/her first payout sometime in the next few years.

What is this thing about anti-newbies. Not all newbies get 80+% rejection. Can not a newbie also get
20% rejection ? Or even 40% Istock rejection ?  Or is all newbie painted with broad brush in this narrowminded
mentality here?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 23, 2010, 16:04
Very good assessment BD. You and FD should form a think tank together :)

Carrying on trying to think it through - the back catalogue that sustains the agencies will obviously also sustain some producers - obviously those who have a large portfolio will do best. The stock factories are going to like that but there will be others.

Once the new input dies and the customer market growth stalls, then I guess there would be a very, very long tail of earnings for a small number of well-established players. Without submitting anything else, they could see earnings decline only very gradually over a long period. But although fairly constant, the earnings per file would be very low.

In other words, if old files have been killed in the past by the influx of new files, then a drop-off in new material will tend to prolong the life of old stuff.

Maybe what we are going through now is the traditional August panic, but I think the anecdotal evidence suggests that the point at which it was attractive to become a microstocker - or even to keep being one - has passed.

There will always be a trickle of high-calibre newbies who can achieve something (and don't have 80% rejection rates!) but against the background of overall collection size, their impact on the earnings of others will probably only be marginal (unless they happen to supply an underpopulated niche, and there aren't many of those around).

Lefty, I think that dj's comment was meant to be sympathetic rather than insulting. Some newbies come in with a well developed skill set, many others don't. Personally, for economic reasons, I like the crowd who get 80% rejections more than the few who get 80% approvals ... but that's just self-interest talking.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 23, 2010, 16:28
Lefty, I think that dj's comment was meant to be sympathetic rather than insulting. Some newbies come in with a well developed skill set, many others don't. Personally, for economic reasons, I like the crowd who get 80% rejections more than the few who get 80% approvals ... but that's just self-interest talking.

BT, not offended. We all in same boat . I understand the emotional here. If there is a slump it is not 100% due to newbie taking a piece of pie but also other factors too obvious . Over saturation, subscription, low price, etc etcetc.
But buyers still need pictures . If slump was evident , only question is where are pictures taken ?
Flickr? Theft of derivative? Cd compilation? Torrents ?
But the mood here point only to blame rejection and higher rate of stupid reviewers.
I am not convinced stupid reviewers are what agencies enjoy to hire.
The agency know there is already over supply of pictures. As they say, there are no stupid pictures, only stupid photographers.

I too, being newbies , wish more people quit. Oldtimers especially, because so much better for me,
and you, and whoever stay. Of course, it is my self interest too. The more people think microstock stink
the better for me too. My piece of pie is bigger.  So no, not offended. Just only reading with much interest.
Thank you for pointing out. I point out too, no offense felt by me. Only happy the air is focused to reality.

We ask question Slump of Sale. We like to know what causation of slump.
Maybe too, buyers sick of same stupid pictures that stupid photographers make. Why back to Yuri on Yay?
Maybe clones are not welcome. Maybe buyers sick of copycats.  But yes, still enough copycats
submission new stuff.
So what? More copycats of old stale stuff mean better chance for you or me who try to find other stuff to shoot.
Only problem, I say before, find me on page 100, to 1001.
So stupid old stale picture still sell more. So stale old picture get me approval. Why I am so stupid to make new idea if reviewer is going to prefer stale picture and same concept?
If they want stale hamburger? Why we try not to accept the reality.
Until best seller drop from view, we make stale hamburger.

Hope my explanation understood.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 23, 2010, 16:39
Lefty, the reviewer doesn't decide where you picture ends up in any search. That's all done by computer.

The reason not to offer stale hamburgers is that the buyers probably will find new, original stuff.

An original idea stands by itself. In a row of hamburgers, it is very likely that my hamburger will be better than yours, because I have been doing this for so long.

And I do re-shoot my hamburgers to get them up to the highest standard I can. I know a lot of my old work isn't up to the standard I can manage now. Rather than let someone else dive in and take away my sales with a better photo, I offer a new version.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 23, 2010, 19:59
I agree with your last assessment BT.  Markets tend to self correct.  I can see a lot of image producers becoming disillusioned soon and slowing down, or completely ceasing image production.  Personally I'm doing pretty well, but even so I have little to no desire to keep feeding images to my agency for ever diminishing returns.  I can't imagine how it feels for the noob who has an 80%+ rejection rate and just wants to reach his/her first payout sometime in the next few years.
What is this thing about anti-newbies. Not all newbies get 80+% rejection. Can not a newbie also get
20% rejection ? Or even 40% Istock rejection ?  Or is all newbie painted with broad brush in this narrowminded
mentality here?

It's not anti-newbies. It's usually fact.

All stock newbies have different levels of experience and for the first few months will have different acceptance rates. 

The "I have a Point & Shoot camera and never heard of Photoshop" newbies will probably be in the 0-20% range.

The "I just got my first DSLR and do some photo editing" stock newbies are probably in the 20-40% range.

The "I've had a DSLR for a couple years and know a little Photoshop" newbies are probably in the 40-70% range.

The "I'm an advanced photographer/web designer/photoshop pro who works for an advertising agency" stock newbies might be in the 70% and up range.

Obviously this varies. Is this fairly accurate for Istock based on your experience and acceptance rate?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 23, 2010, 20:10
I agree with your last assessment BT.  Markets tend to self correct.  I can see a lot of image producers becoming disillusioned soon and slowing down, or completely ceasing image production.  Personally I'm doing pretty well, but even so I have little to no desire to keep feeding images to my agency for ever diminishing returns.  I can't imagine how it feels for the noob who has an 80%+ rejection rate and just wants to reach his/her first payout sometime in the next few years.
What is this thing about anti-newbies. Not all newbies get 80+% rejection. Can not a newbie also get
20% rejection ? Or even 40% Istock rejection ?  Or is all newbie painted with broad brush in this narrowminded
mentality here?

It's not anti-newbies. It's usually fact.

All stock newbies have different levels of experience and for the first few months will have different acceptance rates. 

The "I have a Point & Shoot camera and never heard of Photoshop" newbies will probably be in the 0-20% range.

The "I just got my first DSLR and do some photo editing" stock newbies are probably in the 20-40% range.

The "I've had a DSLR for a couple years and know a little Photoshop" newbies are probably in the 40-70% range.

The "I'm an advanced photographer/web designer/photoshop pro who works for an advertising agency" stock newbies might be in the 70% and up range.

Obviously this varies. Is this fairly accurate for Istock based on your experience and acceptance rate?

Perharps so. But if I recall the millionth seller IStock top LisaGagne started as newbie without a clue what camera was. She bought camera from second hand store and now she is outselling everybody at Istock.
Even you those who look down on newbies and expect only 20% acceptance is too much condescention
. You all forget where you started? And now you assume all newbie start at same ignorance point as you .
That is silly.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Digital66 on August 23, 2010, 20:30
^   Standards were quite different when Lise started.   Things are different today.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 23, 2010, 20:37
Perharps so. But if I recall the millionth seller IStock top LisaGagne started as newbie without a clue what camera was. She bought camera from second hand store and now she is outselling everybody at Istock. Even you those who look down on newbies and expect only 20% acceptance is too much condescention . You all forget where you started? And now you assume all newbie start at same ignorance point as you .
That is silly.

Where in my post did I put down any newbies?

Are you just here to bash anyone who's not a newbie?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 24, 2010, 00:30
Lefty, everyone is your competitor in this game. It doesn't matter a * what they think of you or me or newbies or old-times. What we try to do on this forum is try to understand what is happening in our marketplace.

If you want to kick the old-timers, go and take sales off them by outclassing them. Newbie or not, that will get you their respect (but not their love).
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 24, 2010, 01:27
Lefty is using a Kodak Instamatic,  1982 model, typical neewbie stuff.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 24, 2010, 10:37
Lefty, I never once put down any new photographers.  I think you are reading what you want to see, and looking for an argument where there is none.  My only point was to say that someone with a high rejection rate who hasn't yet reached their first payout is probably losing faith in microstock during this downturn, and that it is possible we will lose some contributors over time.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lisafx on August 24, 2010, 11:01
Lefty, I never once put down any new photographers.  I think you are reading what you want to see, and looking for an argument where there is none.  My only point was to say that someone with a high rejection rate who hasn't yet reached their first payout is probably losing faith in microstock during this downturn, and that it is possible we will lose some contributors over time.

Excellent points Dan.  Just reading these forums the past year, it seems like quite a few people of all skill and success levels are getting discouraged.  Until recently I never saw posts from people saying they are quitting uploading, or quitting altogether, but lately there are some. 

I don't see anyone bashing newbies here either.  Just making the sympathetic point that it is much harder starting now than it was a few years ago. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Dreamframer on August 24, 2010, 11:22
There are plenty of "real" looking ordinary people in microstock. 

Problem is they are nearly impossible to find, drowned as they are in a sea of Yuri's and Monkeybusiness's  perfect looking, cookie cutter images. 

If the micro sites don't find a way in their search engines to allow the real people type images to see the light of day, they will continue to lose buyers to Flikr and the like.   And adding the keyphrase "real people" isn't helpful because buyers don't know to search for it. 

Agree.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: vonkara on August 24, 2010, 11:24

I don't see anyone bashing newbies here either.  Just making the sympathetic point that it is much harder starting now than it was a few years ago. 

True, maybe not always nice. But the thing is, in 6 months, you can get 5 to 10 downloads for every successful images, in a niche subject. The collection was already almost saturated when I joined in 2007. I have been lucky to find a couple of subject where my images didn't got buried.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 24, 2010, 11:43
Lefty is using a Kodak Instamatic,  1982 model, typical neewbie stuff.

ha!ha! very funny. And for 60% on Istock and close to 80% on others mine performance must be incomparable.

Lefty, everyone is your competitor in this game. It doesn't matter a  what they think of you or me or newbies or old-times. What we try to do on this forum is try to understand what is happening in our marketplace.

If you want to kick the old-timers, go and take sales off them by outclassing them. Newbie or not, that will get you their respect (but not their love).

Competition stiff bring out sometime not so nice reaction. Even we see in simple match of wit or simple fun tournament tennis, football, hockey. Not unexpected too in micro stock. Maybe I write to sound I come in here
to pick war with old timers but no, I read with seriousness the situation. I understand too some people get overreaction like me too. But make no mistake I am not out to bash you Pauliewalnut or any oldies.
Only looking for idea to get behind real reason for slumping or is it only for oldie.
Be new I am that my treatment of a newbie is only month to month exceed expectation. So is surprise
there is slumpage. Maybe when I am ten year old in microstock comparing today obvious will be slumpage
. All business in slumpage over 10 years picture retroactive.
Only cigarette, alcohol, and drugs do not face slumpage.  So natural to see slumpage for long term comparision.

I thank all that it is reality to face bigger task to success in microstock than 5, 6,7,10 years ago.
So happy to know stiff competition is for the future continuing.

I will continue take pictures with Instamatic and try mantain approval of more than 20%  , ha!ha!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 24, 2010, 15:12
Only looking for idea to get behind real reason for slumping or is it only for oldie.
Be new I am that my treatment of a newbie is only month to month exceed expectation. So is surprise
there is slumpage.

That's an interesting point. Newcomers will still see the rapid rise in sales as they increase their portfolios by a huge percentage each month. So that will give them encouragement.

What happens later on, Lefty, is that you have, say, 2,000 photos online and it takes a huge effort and a lot of time to increase that by 50%. If the earnings per file are falling by two or three percent a month, then a large contributor can barely keep pace with it - you may have to add 50 or 100 photos a month just to stand still.

The new contributor, with say 100 photos online, can increase his portfolio size by 50% in a month, with a bit of luck. If the sales are falling 3%, all he will notice is a 47% increase in earnings.

The bigger your portfolio gets, the harder it is to increase your earnings and the more obvious any slump becomes.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lefty on August 24, 2010, 16:28
Only looking for idea to get behind real reason for slumping or is it only for oldie.
Be new I am that my treatment of a newbie is only month to month exceed expectation. So is surprise
there is slumpage.

That's an interesting point. Newcomers will still see the rapid rise in sales as they increase their portfolios by a huge percentage each month. So that will give them encouragement.

What happens later on, Lefty, is that you have, say, 2,000 photos online and it takes a huge effort and a lot of time to increase that by 50%. If the earnings per file are falling by two or three percent a month, then a large contributor can barely keep pace with it - you may have to add 50 or 100 photos a month just to stand still.

The new contributor, with say 100 photos online, can increase his portfolio size by 50% in a month, with a bit of luck. If the sales are falling 3%, all he will notice is a 47% increase in earnings.

The bigger your portfolio gets, the harder it is to increase your earnings and the more obvious any slump becomes.

Much appreciation . You are a good person . I can tell from your response.

And for your insight, I realise that, as I read always in spite of other insistance of volume, people like sjlocke stress the contrary to focus on quality not quantity.  So yes, I am no big hurry to reach 10,000 images. I don't have that factory production or patience to churn out volume. But yes , I take sjlocke insistence very seriously, forget playing numbers game and pay more attention to quality.

Thank you again BaldricksTrousers.
by way, last, BT what a funny name you got. Where does it come from?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 24, 2010, 16:40
It's from a line in an English comedy programme.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: djpadavona on August 26, 2010, 17:41
FWIW I have had 4 consecutive solid week days at iStockphoto, and today is my best DL day since June 16. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: fullvalue on August 26, 2010, 18:01
FWIW I have had 4 consecutive solid week days at iStockphoto, and today is my best DL day since June 16. 

I noticed a bit of an uptick myself right after I read about the 25% discount.  Perhaps the discount is making a difference or perhaps some people are getting back into work mode now that school has started.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: ap on August 26, 2010, 18:06
this is going to be my bme after a full year on is.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: SNP on August 26, 2010, 20:08
There's another trap too.  All surplus images uploaded (beyond what is allowed for non-exclusives) are deleted.  So if a non-exclusive is allowed 15 uploads, and you give them 40 files that week because you are exclusive, only the first 15 stay online.  The other 25 get cut.   :'(

*Groan* Oh no __ not this old codswallop being trotted out yet again. What is it about these 'microstock myths' that keeps them being endlessly regurgitated no matter how many times they have been proven to be untrue?

Here's Rob Sylvan's answer to that question from this very forum;

"This interpretation is completely incorrect. Canceling exclusivity does not result in all your content being removed from the site. All that happens is that your content is "removed" from being considered exclusive after 30 days (i.e., removed from exclusive-only searches, promotions, royalties, etc). After 90 days you can apply again to become exclusive if you wish.

I would encourage anyone with questions/concerns about the Artist Supply Agreement to contact iStock Contributor Relations directly."

yes. thanks, you beat me to it. no, they don't pull your images down....why don't people verify 'facts' before spreading them? I just said in another thread, being exclusive, or non-exclusive at a certain level becomes golden handcuffs...not much wiggle room and high risk to make the switch. I wouldn't do it at this point.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Norebbo on August 26, 2010, 22:04
They must have flipped a switch or something (or someone kicked the server) because things suddenly look better this week. Not great, but much better than the last six weeks or so!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 27, 2010, 00:40
They must have flipped a switch or something (or someone kicked the server) because things suddenly look better this week. Not great, but much better than the last six weeks or so!

Yes. Saturday and Sunday produced sales equivalent to several of the days of the previous week - this was just after some sort of behind the scenes shake-up. Then Monday and Tuesday were the best couple of days for something like three months .... and then on Wednesday-Thursday it was back down to the previous week's sort of levels - 60% down from Monday.

These wild gyrations have not been the normal pattern for my sales, though I suppose as sales volume has fallen by half from a few years ago random noise (ebb and flow) will be much bigger than it was. I did notice that just as Saturday's boost came after some site maintenance, Wednesday's drop seemed to be accompanied by complaints on the help forum about technical problems making the site slow. Could that be affecting sales? Is it just random? I don't know. Is it a wild ride? Definitely.

Europe is starting to drift back to work after the summer break, now. So next week should be better everywhere.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: travelstock on August 27, 2010, 01:29
Its been a bumpy few weeks on IS. I'd mainly attribute this to the changes made to the site. I think until everything is settled again we'll see a few more weeks where sales will be inconsistent, though hopefully the worst is behind us.

I made the switch last month to exclusivity after 4+ years as an independent. I've now started to use my upload quota to try to build my IS portfolio to the numbers that the other sites had, so in a sense its really early days. This month it looks like I'll get to about 75% of my total pre-exclusive income. Bearing in mind that I still only have less than 50% of my old SS portfolio on IS, so far I'm not unhappy with the switch. 
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 27, 2010, 01:33
Well, good luck Holgs. It's a brave step to take at a time like this.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 27, 2010, 01:58
Yes!  I noticed a bit of sales increase as well and in the right direction,  maybe the summertime blues is over.

Summertime???  here in Sweden its been bloody rain from start to finish.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on August 27, 2010, 04:14
Summertime???  here in Sweden its been bloody rain from start to finish.

You'll be relieved to know it is almost over, then, and you have autumn to look forward to  ;D
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: joingated on August 27, 2010, 04:47
I seem to have flatlined all summer but then I haven't uploaded anything. So shutterstocks fall from not uploading has been covered by istock still growing. I think i may have got lucky but can't find the motivation to crank back up again! It's definitely true as my port grows uploading doesn't increase sales. zero motivation and the summer rain is relentless in the uk too!
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: lagereek on August 27, 2010, 06:41
Summertime???  here in Sweden its been bloody rain from start to finish.

You'll be relieved to know it is almost over, then, and you have autumn to look forward to  ;D

As it happens Autumn in Sweden is a lovely season, really colorful stuff. My second home is in the UK, London and Cornwall and boy, even more rain every single day.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: robggs on August 27, 2010, 09:58
Summertime???  here in Sweden its been bloody rain from start to finish.

You'll be relieved to know it is almost over, then, and you have autumn to look forward to  ;D

As it happens Autumn in Sweden is a lovely season, really colorful stuff. My second home is in the UK, London and Cornwall and boy, even more rain every single day.

I'm starting to think that London is Atlantis. We havnt had a classic blue sky stock day where the light is perfect for weeks.
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Graffoto on August 27, 2010, 11:35
Wait, the sky in London is blue?
Title: Re: Sales slump
Post by: Talanis on August 27, 2010, 16:25
Its been a bumpy few weeks on IS. I'd mainly attribute this to the changes made to the site. I think until everything is settled again we'll see a few more weeks where sales will be inconsistent, though hopefully the worst is behind us.

I made the switch last month to exclusivity after 4+ years as an independent. I've now started to use my upload quota to try to build my IS portfolio to the numbers that the other sites had, so in a sense its really early days. This month it looks like I'll get to about 75% of my total pre-exclusive income. Bearing in mind that I still only have less than 50% of my old SS portfolio on IS, so far I'm not unhappy with the switch. 

I did the same at the end of july so it's only my 2nd month as exclusive and I'm heading for my 2nd best month of the year for earnings. I did not have much time to upload with the new quotas with the new baby born 3 weeks ago but I intend to grow my portfolio more this fall.

As for the summer slump, earning per download is a LOT higher but the number of downloads is still a bit slow. Way better this week though as someone pointed out. Let's hope it will pick up with the autumn rush.